Friday | 17 Oct 2014

Spain countdown: The stages

RallyRACC Rally de España (23 - 26 October) holds a unique place in the FIA World Rally Championship as the only genuine mixed surface encounter of the season.

Friday’s first full day focuses on gravel, after which it is all change as teams switch their cars into asphalt specification for two legs of sealed-surface action. Except it’s not quite as simple as that…..

While two of Friday’s three special stages, which are each used twice, are gravel only, the last of the loop includes several stretches of asphalt. Drivers must contend with five surface changes, which does little for their chances of settling into a rhythm.

The rally is based in Salou but starts further up the Costa Daurada coastline in Barcelona, which hosts a short Thursday evening spectator special on tight roads around the lower sections of Montjuïc hill.

The El Molar hairpin is a fans' favourite

Friday’s gravel leg features 138.54km of stages in the Tarragona region, but Saturday is the biggie with almost 160km of flat-out asphalt on smooth, flowing and abrasive roads.

The highlight is the 50km Escaladei test, the longest in the event’s history, which celebrates the rally’s half-century. It includes roads not used since 2002 and also the famous El Molar hairpin which attracts thousands of fans. The leg ends with a popular test along Salou seafront.

Two tests used twice complete the action on Sunday, the rally ending with the live TV Power Stage over the Riudecanyes roads, at which bonus points will be on offer to the fastest three drivers.

Seventeen stages covering 372.96km comprise the itinerary, with the roller-coasters of Salou’s PortAventura theme park providing the backdrop to the service park.

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