Day two proper of Rally Sweden will kick of with a stage that is sure to become a modern classic. 31,60 km of ultra fastness that will have the drivers laughing at the end, either from fear or from joy - most probably a bit of both.
SS9 and 12 Knon
It starts on a lightly used forestry road, before a junction onto a wider fast road in regular use. Another junction follows on a fast forestry road, and this rhythm continues until the finish.
The 2017 WRC cars are FAST. This road will let them loose.
Knon is not a very technical stage, but at these speeds every corner presents a challenge. Some are flat, others drivers will need to hold back a little to get a clean getaway, but where to do what?
Jari-Matti Latvala has been the surprise of the rally so far (OneBet had marked him as an outsider and one to follow from the start.) Rumours about an engine not as strong as the competition might seem exaggerated, but here we will know for sure.
Thierry Neuville will be fast here, but can this be the stage that Hayden Paddon really shows that he is back on his game?
Ott Tänak should be one to watch, and of course we never let our eyes off Ogier. This stage should also suit Citroën's Kris Meeke, and Mads Østberg running Rally 2 could also be a threat.
Elfyn Evans could also have his best run on this stage.
OneBet’s tips: Neuville, Tänak, Ogier, Latvala, Meeke
Outsiders: Paddon, Østberg and Evans
SS10 and 13 Hagfors
Where the Knon stage is ultra fast, Hagfors is slower but much more technical. We are still at speed, but in this stage you really need to get your timing right. We will be very impressed if a driver without WRC experience on this stage pulls of something remarkable.
The stages changes character several times, so we can also see variation and fluctuation in the splits. And the fastest driver on the last split, isn’t necessarily going to be the fastest at the finish, because this stage presents challenges to the last metre.
OneBet’s tips: Ogier, Østberg, Neuville, Tänak
Outsiders: Meeke, Paddon, Sordo
SS 11 and 14 Vargåsen
Vargåsen isn´t only known for Colin´s Crest, but in 2016 Sebastien Ogier made one of the early right handers his very own. Entering at least 20 kph too fast, had he gone off he would still have been rolling. H did the only sensible thing - floored it and hoped for the best.
The moment was caught by photographers and vent deservedly viral. “Ogier´s corner” is a fast right hander on the first very fast section of the stage. But after a junction left the stage changes character.
It suddenly turns a lot more technical, and since it is run on a lesser frequented road, there will be more ruts than we saw on Friday´s Norwegian stages.
After a junction right in the middle of the stage it gets faster, but not Knon fast, and ends after the Colin Crest jump.
OneBet’s tips: Latvala, Ogier, Neuville, Østberg
Outsiders: Meeke, and Tänak
SS 15 Karlstad Super Special
As we envisaged, the long corners suited the Toyota here on Thursday night, which seems to have some amazing map programmes on its active central differential - Latvala won Toyota Gazoo Racin's first stage. The Hyundais of Neuville and Sordo followed close behind, and Tänak was the fastest Ford.
We think the rerun will be a fight between Latvala and Neuville, and we think Ogier will be on on it.
OneBet’s tips: Latvala, Neuville, Ogier, Tänak, Sordo
Ranking of the day, our tip:
Neuville, Ogier, Latvala, Tänak, Meeke, Østberg, Paddon, Sordo, Evans, Breen