Monday | 03 Feb 2014

Sweden countdown: Remember these?

This week’s Rally Sweden (5-8 February) has been the scene for some memorable WRC moments over the years. Here are three of our favourites:

2006: Solberg snow scoop
Long-time WRC competitor Henning Solberg will be back at the wheel of a World Rally Car at Rally Sweden, so it seems appropriate to recall one of the Norwegian’s most heroic incidents. In 2006 Henning drove a Peugeot 307 on Rally Sweden, and was sixth overall until SS11 when his car slid wide on a right-hand corner, dug in and flipped upside down.

Still moving, but now on its roof, the windscreen broke and snow was scooped into the cockpit, covering Henning and co-driver Cato Menkerud. The reason this is heroic is that once spectators had rolled the car right way up, and most of the snow had been scooped out, Henning was straight on the starter button. Menkerud kicked out the remains of the broken screen [pictured] and they rejoined the stage, driving without a windscreen in a snowstorm. The pair were almost hypothermic when they got the battered car back to service but, incredibly, they were able to continue and went on to finish eighth.

Jari-Matti Latvala

2008: Latvala breaks his idol’s record
Unseasonably warm weather meant the 2008 Rally Sweden was more gravel than snow, but the conditions suited Jari-Matti Latvala down to the ground; the Finn claimed his first WRC victory and set a record that still stands today. At the age of 22 years and 313 days, Latvala became the youngest winner in the history of the World Rally Championship, breaking his idol Henri Toivonen's long-standing record set at the 1980 RAC Rally.

2004: Loeb beats the Scandinavians at home
The specialist conditions of Rally Sweden have favoured local drivers for years. Growing up on snow has its advantages, and since it was first run in 1950, only Swedes or Finns had won the event until 2004, when a young Sebastien Loeb beat them at their own game. It was win number six for the Frenchman, who put his Citroen Xsara WRC into the lead when early leader Markko Martin clouted a rock and broke his Ford’s suspension. Fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier became only the second non-Nordic winner in 2013. Best of the rest award goes to Spaniard Carlos Sainz who finished second four times and third two times.