The total length of this year’s rally will be 1,401 km with the 19 special stages covering about 314 km. This year sees Rally HQ moving from Karlstad to Sunne, with the Service Park being located at Torsby Airport again, where the final stage and podium ceremony will also take place.
WRC’s Only Truly Winter Rally: The Rally Sweden is the only real winter event on the WRC calendar and the weather conditions in the run-up to the rally, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures across the region, suggest this year’s event will see the best winter conditions for several years. This mean’s the trademark snow banks, which drivers can ‘lean’ into to guide them round corners, should be sizable and robust and contribute to some fast times on the frozen roads. Teams will be running a loose surface specification but they will need to deploy some innovative engineering solutions to keep engines running at peak performance in the cold conditions.
Special Equipment Required
No-one can drive hundreds of kilometres on frozen snowy roads without some specialist kit on hand, and WRC drivers are no exception. Cars will be equipped with studded tyres fitted with about 380 tungsten-tipped steel studs. These tyres are significantly heavier than regular ones but are essential for grip. However, the studs will quickly tear up the roads and the gravel beneath can rip these studs out, which leave cars with less traction. All drivers will also be carrying shovels in their cars. This is a less high-tech tool, but essential in case they have to dig themselves out of the snow.
One Rally, Two Countries: The Rally Sweden is the only WRC event which takes place in two countries. All but the last of Friday’s seven special stages will take place in neighbouring Norway and this has been the case since 2015. This year Norway (which had its own WRC event in 2007 and 2009) will see two runs through stages Hof-Finnskog, Svullrya and Röjden, with the latter starting and finishing in Sweden, but crossing into Norway during the middle section.
Nearly A Quarter of the Special Stages Are New: This year Rally Sweden will be very different to last year for drivers. Almost 24 percent of the special stage distance will be new this time around. This will include the Torntorp stage, which is 19.88 km long and returns for the first time since 2014. This fast run through beautiful open fields and meadows is a blast from the past but a huge favourite with both drivers and fans. There are also extensive changes to the routes of both the Hagfors and Torsby stages and slight changes to the Röjden stage and the Torsby Sprint.
THE CLASSIC COLIN'S CREST JUMP
Up to 40 metres in air
Perhaps the single most famous stage of the Rally Sweden is Vargåsen which includes the well known Colin’s Crest jump. Named after the late British rally legend Colin McRae, it is the most popular spectator area of the rally. Hitting the jump flat out can see cars flying in excess of 40 metres and the driver daring enough to make the longest jump will take home the coveted Colin’s Crest Award. The current record holder is Eyvind Brynildsen who launched his car 45 metres in 2016. Will someone go further this year?
FABIA R5 Went Unbeaten On the Longest And Shortest Stages In 2017: Last year saw ŠKODA FABIA R5 drivers dominating the extremes of the Rally Sweden in the WRC2 category. Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson (ŠKODA Motorsport) were fastest in both runs of the Svullrya stage, the longest of the rally at 24.88 km. This stage will be run unchanged twice on the Friday this year. Meanwhile the shortest stage is the 1.9 km long Karlstad super special stage, which will also run twice unchanged this year. In 2017, Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen (Printsport) and Tidemand / Andersson won this stage once each. The FABIA R5 won 13 of the 17 special stages in the WRC2 class last year and both our ŠKODA Motorsport drivers and customer teams will be hoping for at least a repeat of that this year too.