The penultimate FIA World Rally Championship round in Spain follows a virtually identical mixed surface format that provided the thrilling final day scrap between Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier 12 months ago.
• Salou – part 1. The aggressive, mean and moody World Rally Cars will be lined up on the seafront ahead of Thursday evening’s start ceremony. Perfect for a close-up look at these new-generation monsters. The WRC drivers will meet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures ahead of the start. Get your selfie stick out!
• Salou – part 2. Two days later the stars and cars will be in action in the same area for a technical 2.24km street test beside the beach on Saturday evening. It starts at the marina and heads towards the centre on roads made slippery by sand.
• Spectate in La Fatarella - Vilalba on Friday afternoon. Tyres overworked by the constant changes from gravel to asphalt and back again, and the prospect of high temperatures mean the rubber could be in less than perfect condition for this final stage of the day. Entertainment guaranteed.
• Plan a trip to the PortAventura service park on the edge of Salou. Cars are serviced there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and when you have seen enough of that, a visit to the roller-coasters in the adjacent theme park will round off a perfect day.
Loeb claimed his first WRC victory in more than five years during an intense final day at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España, and there are few changes to the series’ only mixed surface fixture for the 24 - 27 October encounter.
Salou’s PortAventura World theme park is the nerve centre for a 15th season and the town’s seafront hosts Thursday evening’s ceremonial start.
The action begins with the cars in gravel specification for Friday’s opening leg, the longest of the event at 129.70km. A gentle opener on the dirt roads of Gandesa (7.00km) and a reworked Horta-Bot (19.00km), leads into the fiendishly difficult 38.85km La Fatarella-Vilalba.
The longest stage of the rally mixes gravel and asphalt with frequent surface changes and those drivers who can master the 6.6km sealed surface section up to the midpoint on tired tyres can make decisive time gains.
Service in Salou precedes a repeat of the three tests before an extended 1hr 15min evening service in which teams race against the clock to convert their cars to asphalt trim.
Saturday is identical to 2018, featuring two loops of Savallà (14.08km), Querol (21.26km) and El Montmell (24.40km) before the traditional and spectacular Salou (2.24km) seafront special stage.
Sunday’s finale opens with the popular Riudecanyes (16.35km), complete with its famous roundabout junction, and the return of the twisty and technical La Mussara (20.72km) for the first time since 2014.
Both will be driven twice, separated by mid-morning service in Salou, with the second pass of La Mussara forming the Wolf Power Stage and offering bonus points to the fastest five drivers.
Drives face 17 tests covering 325.56km ahead of the Salou seafront podium ceremony.