COPEC Rally Chile
|COPEC Rally Chile|
|Stages:||16 (304,81 km)|
- A WRC newcomer which ventures deep into inland forests on roads used by timber trucks. Also includes open tests with stunning Pacific Ocean views. Roads are medium fast and some are cambered. Hosted in port city of Concepción, and most of the route is sandwiched between the sea and the Biobío River, the country’s second biggest waterway.
- Friday’s opening leg journeys south of Concepción for two arduous loops of forest stages, split by service in Talcahuano.
- The day ends with a spectacular early evening street stage in the centre of Concepción.
- A compact second leg closer to the city packs more than 120km of stages into less than 400km. The format copies Friday, with two loops of three identical tests.
- Sunday’s four stage finale features more open roads and concludes with the Bio Bio Wolf Power Stage, which starts by the river and finishes on the coast.
- El Puma. None of the rally’s tests have graced the WRC previously, but we reckon Friday’s 30.72km El Puma could be a cracker. It’s the longest test and the most southerly, and is described as the ‘Ouninpohja of Chile’, in reference to Finland’s classic stage. The technically complicated but fast, cambered roads will be a real challenge.
- No previous experience of stages for competitors or back-up teams.
- Drivers and co-drivers must prepare pace notes from a blank piece of paper.
- No opportunity to perfect car set-up ahead of the rally as pre-event testing in Chile is banned.
- Lack of knowledge about tyre performance and wear.
- If conditions are dry, thick surface gravel is likely, a significant handicap to early starters who must ‘clean’ the roads.
- Choosing when to cut corners. There are plenty of opportunities to save vital tenths, but the road verges hide tree stumps and big stones so pace notes must not be too optimistic.
- Gravel suspension.
- Roads are generally compact and not rough, so no requirement to modify car set-up for rutted roads in the second pass of stages.
- Soft and medium compound tyres. Autumn weather, the possibility of rain and temperatures between 10 -15°C rule out the need for harder rubber.
- Chile’s first WRC involvement was in 1980 when Argentina’s Codasur Rally featured pre-start concentration runs from south American capital cities, one of which was Santiago. Bad weather in the Andes prevented any of the Santiago starters from crossing the mountains and reaching Argentina!
- The WRC event grew out of the RallyMobil Championship, Chile’s national rally series, which started in 2000.
- In 2016 organisers put forward a plan to become a fully-fledged WRC round.
- A successful candidate event was held early in 2018 and later in the year, Chile became the 32nd country to join the championship as a WRC host country.
What´s new for 2019
- Everything! Chile has never previously hosted its own WRC round.
- Thursday night’s ceremonial start in the Plaza de la Independenzia in the centre of Concepción. Tens of thousands of fans are expected for a massive celebration to launch the rally.
- Friday evening’s Concepción - Bicentenario street stage. The 2.20km test passes the city’s theatre and the monument commemorating the earthquake and tsunami, which hit the Concepción region in 2010.
- The Talcahuano service park, close to the city’s airport. Watch the teams working on their cars and enjoy the numerous other activities scheduled there.
- Take an evening off to visit one of the city’s many music venues. Concepción is considered the capital of Chilean rock and bands can be enjoyed across the city on a nightly basis.