The organisers of Spain's round of the WRC have confirmed changes to this year's edition including three new stages and a more challenging final day.
RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España [6 - 8 October] holds a unique position as the championship’s only true mixed surface round, and this continues in 2017 with one day largely on gravel followed by two on asphalt.
For the 13th time, the event will be based in the holiday resort of Salou, on Spain’s northeastern coast in the Tarragona province. And with no Barcelona Super Special this year, all 19 stages are based in the Costa Daurada region.
After Shakedown and a ceremonial start in Salou on Thursday, the competitive action gets underway on Friday, which remains the only mixed surface leg in the WRC and is unchanged from 2016. The asphalt and gravel Terra Alta 38.95 km will be followed by the all gravel Caseres (12.50 km) and Bot (6.50 km) in a loop that will be run in the morning and repeated in the afternoon for a total of 115.90 stage kilometres.
After an extended service on Friday night, when cars will be transformed from gravel to asphalt spec, crews will tackle two days of sealed-surface rallying on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday features a loop of three stages that will be covered twice: El Montmell (24.40 km), El Pont d’Armentera (21.29 km) and Savallà (14.12 km) and the short Salou (2.24 km) street stage in the host town. El Montmell is the same as last year but with an extra 260 metres added at the end. El Pont d’Armentera is last year's Querol stage but run in the opposite direction. Savallà is a completely new challenge that runs between the towns of Rauric and Conesa. Saturday's stages total 121.86 km.
Sunday's itinerary comprises three stages (one more than last year) which will run twice without a service. L’Albiol (6.28 km) is a section of the Vilaplana stage from 2016 but run in the opposite direction; Riudecanyes (16.35 km), returns in the same configuration as 2013; and Santa Marina (14.50 km), will be in its 2012 form but with an additional 800 metres at the end.
The second passage of Santa Marina will be broadcast live as the rally-closing Power Stage. Sunday's stages add up to 74.26 km, twelve more than last year.