The opening day is primarily on gravel, with the following two days taking place on asphalt. This requires a longer than usual service on the Friday evening to convert the cars for a different surface as well as a sharpness from drivers to be able to adapt their driving style for the differing surfaces.
The action takes place around the holiday resort of Salou, to the south of Barcelona. On Friday, there are three gravel stages which are each run twice. The longest stage of the rally, Terra Alta (38.95 km), sees frequent surface changes between gravel and asphalt which will keep both drivers and co-drivers on their toes.
From the second leg onwards, everything takes place on smooth and fast asphalt, which has often been compared to race circuit conditions. That brings advantages but also fresh challenges for drivers, with high speeds meaning even small errors can be severely punished. Tyre wear can be another factor on the asphalt here too, especially in the high temperatures.
On the Saturday, the teams head north for three stages, two of which are new, which are again driven twice. The day ends with a short stage along the seafront in Salou again. There are six more stages on the Sunday too, all new but with familiar elements, ending with a final power stage at Santa Marina, which is included for the first time since 2012.
The RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada offers WRC drivers a completely different challenge to any other event of the year. This makes it a rally that drivers both love and respect. A ŠKODA FABIA R5 has won the WRC2 event here for each of the last two years, with Jan Kopecký edging out Pontus Tidemand last year and Tidemand himself winning the year before.
There will be no shortage of FABIA R5 drivers looking to complete the hat-trick, and it promises to be a fascinating weekend of rallying again.