Taking place in and around Mikolajki in the Masurian Lake District region in the north of the country, Rally Poland consists of 23 special stages and 326 kilometers of competitive distance on sandy roads which allow crews to reach very high speeds. With more than a third of the total distance not being used over the past three years, there will be plenty of new challenges for drivers.
Mikolajki is hosting a super-special stage which is run three times in total at the Mikolajki Arena next to the service park and this is where the action begins on the Thursday evening. The follow day is unchanged from last year, with crews tackling two loops of four stages as well as having another crack at the super-special stage at the end of the day.
The Saturday, which takes place to the north, close to the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, follows the same pattern with four stages being driven twice before there is a final run of the super-special stage. It is the longest leg of the rally with teams driving just over 150 kilometers on this day alone and there is also one entirely new stage in this leg (Pozezdrze, 23.80 km) which will be run twice.
The final day sees crews driving just two stages twice, with Paprotki serving as the final Power Stage this year, while Orzysz (10.50 km) is another entirely new stage this year.
The main feature of the landscape in this part of the year is the tall grass which lines the roads throughout the rally. This looks striking and beautiful to spectators, but for the drivers it can prove extremely treacherous. The grass can hide large rocks which can bring a swift end to the rally of any driver who deviates from the racing line. It also obscures visibility going into corners where so much time can be won and lost.
Cars will be equipped with gravel suspensions for this rally and whilst most cars will be using soft compound tyres throughout the weekend, there is the option of hard compounds available if anyone is feeling particularly bold.