Wednesday | 01 Feb 2023

Kalle hoping for an icy Sweden

The icier the better. That’s Kalle Rovanperä’s take on the road conditions heading into Rally Sweden next week (9 - 12 February), round two of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The defending WRC champion finished a solid second overall at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, however, his team-mate Sébastien Ogier - who won round one - will not be present in Sweden.

What that means is that, during Friday’s opening leg at least, Rovanperä will open the road - potentially sweeping a clean line on the snow-covered stages and ultimately making the surface quicker for those behind.

The Finn mastered similar challenges this time last season when, after carrying out road-opening duties for the first time, he won the event by 22sec from Thierry Neuville. This year he’s hoping for as much ice as possible to reduce the cleaning effect.

“It’s really nice to be back on snow,” Rovanperä said during his pre-event test. “We have only one snow event of the year and it’s always cool to have studded tyres on the car and push between the banks.

Trailer: WRC Rally Sweden 2023

“In our test we had perfect conditions, basically. The road was really icy with a thick layer of ice, and the studs of the tyres were going really deep into the ice of the road.  

“Of course, it’s always going to be tricky to open the road,” he continued. “It depends a lot on the conditions and how it’s going to be, but let’s hope the conditions will be like this and we don’t suffer too much.”

Rovanperä is joined in his GR Yaris team by Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta. Italian privateer Lorenzo Bertelli also debuts a fourth car but will not score manufacturers’ championship points.

• 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.