Wednesday | 29 Jun 2016

Poland countdown: The route

At first glance, the itinerary of Poland's seventh round of the championship looks similar to the 2015 edition. In fact the challenge has changed in many ways.

One constant is the location, with the service hub and headquarters in Mikolajki, several hours north of Warsaw in the heart of the Masurian lake district. The town hosts the start and finish ceremonies and the Mikolajki Arena super special stage next to the service park that is run three times.

Further afield organisers have changed 33 per cent of the stages since 2015 to make them safer and more attractive for competitors and fans. There are 21 all-gravel tests, with a total length of 306km in a rally distance of 1,253km.

Only three stages are the same as last year (Mikołajki Arena, Gołdap, Świętajno), while two (Chmielewo and Stare Juchy) have featured in previous years. All others have been modified.

The ceremonial start will take place on Thursday, 30 June in central Mikolajki. That night, drivers will face the first competition on the super special.

Friday features two loops of four tests north-east of the host town before a repeat of the super special - a total of 121.92km.

Saturday heads further north towards the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad for three stages that are driven twice, before a third and final pass over the Mikolajki super special. An additional challenge is the lack of a midday service for the cars (with the exception of a tyre change). The longest leg of the competition, Saturday's special stages total 124.58km.

Four final tests, covering just 59.60km, will be held on Sunday, including the Sady live TV Power Stage.

Key changes to this year's route

SS2/6ChmielewoA new middle section compared to the 2014 route, but the same beginning and end.
SS5/9Stare JuchyLast run in 2014, now with a new first half.
SS12/14StanczykiA new start and finish compared to 2014.
SS13/15BabkiExtended with a new section at the start.
SS18/20BaranowoExtended with a new section at the start.
SS19/21SadyNew stage, using a section of the 2014 Barnowo route at the end.
SS3/7 WieliczkiOnly the first third is the same as 2015.

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