Tue 14 Feb 2023

View from the Service Park: Sweden

Snow. Snow everywhere. And then some more. One thing that was in full supply at last week’s Rally Sweden was snow.

Umeå delivered a true winter wonderland for the World Rally Championship to paint one of the most dramatic pictures in years.

Last week’s second round of the WRC was an absolute thriller. It kept fans from around the world on their feet for three days – which was just as well because, a) it was too cold to sit down at times and b) staying on your feet meant you hadn’t slipped on some of the iciest ice in years.

Congratulations to Umeå and the surrounding towns and villages – what a show you helped the WRC put on. It’s been said time and again down the years that a winter rally is one of the most astonishing spectacles world motorsport can provide. Last week testified to that. The action was outstanding with the fastest drivers and co-drivers in the fastest rally cars doing their thing at close to 200kph. On a surface we struggled to stand up on.


And, typically, for Sweden, there was plenty going on besides the stunning WRC round. The Umeå Arena and Red Barn venues were hugely popular, with fans arriving hours before the first car was due.

But it was out in the field that the colour was found. The first of the big, big snowfalls arrived in early December, dumping feet of powder onto the WRC’s playground and covering a wide variety of classically cool Saabs and Volvos, which won’t be seen until the spring when, inevitably, they’ll still fire up first time.

There’s something about being in the woods, lighting a fire, singing a song and eating a burned Falukorv (tasty Swedish sausage) while you watch Ott Tänak dancing his way past on the limiter in top gear.

And now, for round three and the biggest swing in the series. From the frozen north of Scandinavia to a piping hot central México. It’ll be 50 degrees warmer and a good bit rockier in Leon next month.

The 2023 adventure continues.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM