Spain countdown: Rally route
The WRC title protagonists will need to call on all their skills as the only mixed-surface event of the year, RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España (25-28 October), hosts the penultimate round of the season.
Thierry Neuville, Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tänak will lock horns on Spain’s tricky stages, knowing they’ll have to master a day of gravel action and two further days of asphalt competition if they’re to stay in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ title races.
All three men will join the rest of the WRC field when the action gets underway on Thursday night, with the 3.20km Barcelona street stage returning after a year’s absence.
Thursday (25 October) - WRC+ Live Stream from 17:15 until 19:05 local rally time (UTC+2)
Friday’s ‘dirt day’ kicks off with two speed tests that were last used in 2014 – Gandesa (7.00km) and Pesells (26.59km).
Then comes the 38.85km challenge of La Fatarella-Vilalba which contains asphalt sections and many tricky surface changes.
A stop at the PortAventura service park gives crews some breathing space, before the trio of stages are repeated in the afternoon.
Friday (26 October) - WRC+ Live Stream from 08:00 until 19:45 local rally time (UTC+2)
After a 75-minute service on Friday night to convert cars to asphalt spec, crews head north east for seven tests on Saturday.
The Savallà (14.12km) and El Montmell (24.40km) stages return – but they are run in the opposite direction this season. The 21.26km Querol test splits the two.
All three stages are repeated in the afternoon after mid-leg service, with the short Salou (2.24km) test completing the second day.
Saturday (27 October) - WRC+ Live Stream from 07:45 until 18:00 local rally time (UTC+2)
Two asphalt stages that are run twice make up the final day of competition on Sunday.
The Riudecanyes (16.35km) and Santa Marina (14.50km) tests remain unchanged from 2017, with the latter hosting the bonus point-paying Live TV Power Stage.
This year, organisers have included a 30-minute service halt between the two loops.
Sunday (28 October) - WRC+ Live Stream from 06:45 until 13:45 local rally time (UTC+2)
- Barcelona. Having been left off the 2017 itinerary, the Thursday night street stage is back with a bang this year. As well as seeing WRC machines power through the city streets, fans can meet their heroes during the pre-rally autograph sessions.
- The champions. There’s not one, not two, but three world champions tackling the Spanish stages in 2018. While Sébastien Ogier aims for his sixth title, Sébastien Loeb will drive a Citroën C3 and Petter Solberg will campaign Volkswagen’s new Polo R5.
- The PortAventura service park has it all. As well as allowing fans to watch the cars being fettled at close quarters, it also gives them a chance to ride rollercoasters and have a dip in a water park!
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In testing: Spain special
Teams prepare for next week’s mixed-surface challenge