This year’s fixture has been moved 700km north to the Västerbotten region from its traditional home in Värmland in the search for guaranteed snow and ice to host the WRC’s only pure winter round.
Host city Umeå is closer to the Arctic Circle than capital city Stockholm and information from testing and pre-event forecasts suggest there will be no shortage of the white stuff.
The teams have all tested in the north of the country, but in varying conditions. Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing ran in largely dry weather in Sweden, while M-Sport Ford driver Craig Breen completed his running in near blizzard conditions close to Kall.
Toyota’s Tom Fowler said: “From what we’ve seen, the conditions are quite nice – the snowbanks are in good order. Compared with some of the conditions we’ve seen down the years, this looks like we’re going to be in for a proper winter rally.”
Video: Rally Sweden preview
A long-range forecast talks of the potential for heavy snowfall through the recce and in the run-up to the event, with temperatures plunging to -15°C at night and remaining well below freezing through the day.
M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener said: “We’re all keeping an eye on the weather, but it’s looking really good. Our pre-event test is in Kall and we’ve already had some really good roads and mixed weather – some days with snow and some without so we’ll be prepared for whatever comes our way.
“Obviously if we do get a lot of snow before the event, that makes it tricky for the cars first on the road. Craig’s running second, which isn’t as bad as first! Let’s wait and see.”
• Full coverage from Rally Sweden will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.