|Stages:||19 (316,80 km)|
- Classic winter fixture that spans two countries as it ventures deep into the frozen and remote forests of Sweden and Norway. Studded tyres provide remarkable grip on snow and ice. Paradoxically, it is one of the season’s fastest rounds.
- Action begins with big power slides at Thursday night’s spectacular super special stage at Karlstad trotting track, which is repeated 48 hours later.
- All but the last of Friday’s seven stages are in Norway. Röjden provides cross-border competition, starting and finishing in Sweden with the middle section in its neighbouring country.
- Saturday features classic Swedish roads near Hagfors, culminating in a short sprint test than finishes on the edge of Torsby’s service park.
- Just two stage venues in Sunday’s finale. Two passes over the Likenäs test are followed by the live TV Power Stage at Torsby.
- Saturday’s double pass through Vargåsen. As a mark of respect for the late Colin McRae an award is made for the longest jump at Colin’s Crest. Eyvind Brynildsen holds the record from 2016 with a 45 metre leap. One for the brave!
- The only true winter round - a classic Rally Sweden will be characterised by frozen roads lined with snow banks. Drivers ‘lean’ cars against the banks to guide them round corners.
- But in warmer temperatures the banks disintegrate on impact and cars can become stuck in the snow.
- Studded tyres are essential and provide remarkable grip but drivers must acclimatise to the ‘floating’ feeling and different braking points.
- When temperatures hover around freezing, the studs tear up the road surface and exposed gravel rips them from the tyres to leave little traction.
- Outdoor servicing in temperatures as low as -25°C makes normally routine jobs slower and tricky for gloved mechanics.
- Loose surface specification but engineering solutions required to make engines work at peak performance in unrelenting cold.
- Michelin’s skinny tyres bristle with 384 tungsten-tipped steel studs to bite into the frozen roads. Each stud is 20mm long and weighs 4g. However, just 7mm is exposed, with the rest inserted into the rubber to provide a strong anchor.
- Shovels are mandatory in case competitors have to dig their cars out of snow.
- First run in 1950 when it was called the Rally to the Midnight Sun as it was held in summer. It became a winter event in 1965.
- It featured in the inaugural championship in 1973 and has been dominated by Scandinavians, who won every year until 2004 when Sébastien Loeb broke the mould. Sébastien Ogier and 2018 victor Thierry Neuville are the only other ‘outsiders’ to win.
- Stig Blomqvist and Marcus Grönholm top the roll of honour with five wins each.
What´s new for 2019
- Very little – organisers have stayed faithful to 2018’s acclaimed format.
- Friday’s Röjden test has been clipped by 0.66km at the end to use the same finish as 2017.
- Saturday’s Rämmen stage. Last used in 2016 but driven in the opposite direction this time around. It replaces the Torntorp test.
- Thursday night’s opening ceremony at Karlstad trotting track. Meet the drivers, grab autographs and selfies and watch mega-slides in the two-at-a-time special stage.
- Colin’s Crest in Vargåsen is one of the WRC’s great spectating locations. Brilliant atmosphere and high-flying cars - and the WRC’s stars visit twice on Saturday.
- Saturday night in Torsby will be magic. Watch the final section of the 3.43km sprint stage before strolling into the service park to watch the teams at work on their cars.
- Sunday in Torsby is just as good. The final Power Stage ends on the same roads as Saturday night’s test before the podium minutes later in the service park. You might have to run to catch both!
- Magnificent classic cars from the past will compete in Rally Sweden Historic on Friday and Saturday in conjunction with the WRC rally.