RALLY RACC CATALUNYA
Rally de España
|RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España|
|Stages:||18 (331,58 km)|
- Spain is unique as the WRC’s only mixed surface encounter. Medium-speed gravel roads contrast with smooth, fast, circuit-like asphalt.
- Barcelona’s popular street stage in the Montjuïc area of the city ushers in the action, covering roads that hosted the Spanish Grand Prix F1 race on four occasions.
- Friday’s ‘dirt day’ heads west and features two gravel tests last used in 2014. The big change is the new 38.85km La Fatarella - Vilalba stage, which includes asphalt sections and many surface changes. Three morning tests are repeated in the afternoon.
- The second and third legs are entirely on sealed surfaces. Saturday journeys north-east and includes two stages driven in the reverse direction to 2017, along with the return of the Querol test. Two loops of three stages are followed by a fan favourite test on Salou seafront.
- Sunday’s finale contains two loops of the Riudecanyes and Santa Marina stages, both in the same format as last year. This time there will be a mid-leg service at the PortAventura theme park in Salou.
- The return of Thursday night’s 3.20km asphalt stage in Barcelona is a welcome addition to the schedule. It runs on the roads of the city’s trade fair, starting and finishing on the Avenida Reina Maria Cristina. It circles the famous Magic Fountain, with a 360 degree donut in front of the spectacular Palau Nacional building.
- Only mixed surface round of the season as two days of asphalt are blended with a day of primarily gravel.
- After the first full day teams convert their cars from gravel to asphalt specification in a longer than usual evening service to accommodate the surface change.
- Drivers must quickly adapt their driving style to an overnight change in road surface.
- Fast, smooth, sweeping asphalt is comparable to a race circuit in its characteristics.
- First run in 1957 and included in the European Championship from 1975.
- Entered the WRC in 1991 when it was based on the Costa Brava in Lloret de Mar.
- Relocated to Salou in 2002 and after being a pure asphalt event, it developed into a mixed surface event in 2010.
- Sébastien Loeb dominated the rally, winning every year between 2005 and 2012.
- Both asphalt and gravel set-up required for the mixed roads.
- Different tyres are needed for the two surfaces.
- Asphalt is abrasive and if temperatures are hot, drivers must manage tyre wear carefully.
What’s new for 2018
- The return of Thursday night’s spectacular opening stage in Barcelona (see above).
- Friday’s La Fatarella - Vilalba test. It borrows 23km from the familiar Terra Alta stage, but in the opposite direction, and 12km of new roads lead into the Vilalba finish.
- Querol returns to the schedule on Saturday after being rested 12 moths ago.
- Barcelona – part 1. The aggressive, mean and moody World Rally Cars will be lined up alongside the opening special stage from mid-afternoon on Thursday. Perfect for a close-up look at these new-generation monsters.
- Barcelona – part 2. The WRC’s stars will meet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures ahead of the start. Get your selfie stick out!
- Barcelona – part 3. Once the rally has returned to its Salou base after the stage, relax in the city, enjoy some sightseeing and find a restaurant or bar alongside the famous Las Ramblas.
- Spectate in La Fatarella - Vilalba on Friday afternoon. Tyres overworked by the constant changes from gravel to asphalt and back again, and the prospect of high temperatures mean the rubber could be in less than perfect condition for this final stage of the day. Entertainment guaranteed.
- Plan a trip to the PortAventura service park on the edge of Salou. Cars are serviced there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and when you have seen enough of that, a visit to the roller-coasters in the adjacent theme park will round off a perfect day.