Wednesday | 11 Feb 2015

Rally Sweden: Recce Notes

Tuesday and Wednesday’s pre-event recce was the first opportunity for competitors to see the stages they will tackle at full speed later this week.

We drove them as well, to give you a driver’s eye view of what’s coming up. Here are some of the highlights:

A new challenge in Torsby: Friday (SS2/SS9). Friday’s opening stage kicks off with an all-new 11.7km addition to the Torsby test. Conditions were perfect during the recce, with plenty of snow, a thick ice base and some useable snowbanks. The new section is really fast, with lots of straights. Speeds would have been so high that organisers have added hay bale chicanes to slow things down a bit. The stage starts at 0829hrs, 40 minutes after sunrise. We took our picture (above) at 0830hrs when the light is still low.

Border crossing: Friday (SS3/SS8). Röjden starts in Sweden and then crosses into Norway before ending back in Sweden again. Here’s the point at which it crosses the border for the first time. The exact point is defined by a gap in the forest, and a sign welcoming drivers to Norway. On the other side is a sign saying welcome to Sweden.

The Röjden snow cliff: Friday (SS3/SS8). Of all the stages, Röjden had the most snow on the recce - and it was also where we saw the lowest temperature of -6ºC. After the ploughs had been through, the snow banks were very impressive. In this section, just after the stage has crossed back into Sweden, the plough blade has cut into the bank, leaving a rock-hard icy overhang. The bank on the left is not fluffy snow - you would need to to kick it a couple of times to make a dent.

The Fredriksberg crests: Saturday (SS11/SS15). There were some really deep snowbanks here - some up to 1m50cm deep. We saw nowhere near as much here last year. Another indicator of the colder conditions is the stage-side lake. This week the WRC TV crews will probably use it as a helicopter landing area. Last year they would have needed a boat. The almost 2km straight with huge crests shown here. Last year there the surface was gravel. The only gravel we saw on the recce was where locals had scattered it on top of the ice to provide more grip.

A long lean: Saturday (SS14/SS18). Vargasen features the most consistent snow banks - with a decent amount to lean on all the way through. Colin’s Crest was looking good with a solid ice base and a new VIP hospitality area running next to the landing zone.

A snowy finale: Sunday (SS19/SS20) Lesjofors featured terrific snow conditions. This is a stage that has caught out a few big names over the years. The amount of snow here this time offers plenty of opportunities to slip up.

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