Returning World Champion Rovanperä powered up for WRC’s winter fixture

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Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen make their first appearance in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship when Sweden hosts round two of the season from February 15-18 in Umeå, a university city in the north-eastern Västerbotten region, for the third year running.

The Finns, who claimed back-to-back FIA WRC titles in 2023, are undertaking a partial schedule of events in 2024 aimed at giving 23-year-old Rovanperä the opportunity to take a rest and sample other forms of motor sport.

Part of the WRC schedule when the championship began in 1973, Rally Sweden remains one of motor sport’s most exhilarating spectacles. Drivers depend upon tungsten-tipped steel-studded tyres being able to bite into the ice-coated rollercoaster-style forest roads and give them crucial grip. The snowbanks that line the stages also provide additional stability for drivers cornering at high speed.

The event forms the opening round of the 2023 FIA Junior WRC Championship for young drivers competing in identical Ford Fiesta Rally3s run by M-Sport Poland on Pirelli tyres. The popularity of the series is underlined by the largest line-up in two decades with a record 19 crews registered for the Swedish curtain raiser, including the four drivers who graduated from the FIA Rally Star training season in 2023.

In total, 57 competitors are entered for the ice and snow event – an increase of five compared to 2023. They will provide a unique and highly memorable experience for the thousands of spectators packing the fan zones located throughout the route. This includes the Red Barn Arena, the rally’s fan-focused hub close to the centre of Umeå and the setting of the finish of the final stage on all four legs.

Official supplier Pirelli equips all Rally1 cars with the latest version of its Sottozero Ice studded tyre on Rally Sweden. Excluding shakedown, teams are restricted to 28 tyres for the event.

More than 4000 volunteers are giving up their team without financial reward to help ensure the safe and successful running of Rally Sweden.


While leg two’s double use, 15.65-kilometre, Vännäs test is the only all-new stage, approximately one third of the competitive route, which totals 300.10 kilometres, has been revamped for 2024. The timed action begins on Thursday February 18 with the Umeå Sprint stage.

That’s followed on Friday morning by the first of two runs through the Brattby stage, renamed #42 Brattby as a tribute to the late Craig Breen, who set the fastest time on both runs in 2023 driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid carrying the number 42. The subsequent Norrby test is unchanged at the start but differs significantly to the 2023 layout thereafter. From Norrby, crews venture even further afield from Umeå to Floda, the longest of the rally at 28.25 kilometres and the event’s most northerly stage. Friday’s leg concludes with a rerun of the Umeå Sprint. 

Three stages (Vännäs, Sarsjöliden and Bygdsiljum) each run twice, plus the first try of the Umeå test, make up Saturday’s route after which interim championship points are awarded. Bygdsiljum covers part of the Bostmark stage from 2023 and also gets a new, faster start location and revised finish. At 28.06 kilometres, it’s the second longest of the rally. 

Sunday’s deciding leg begins with back-to-back visits to the significantly altered Västervik test ahead of the Wolf Power Stage – the same layout as the Umeå stage from Saturday evening – from 12:15 hrs local time. The podium ceremony is due to begin in the Red Barn Arena at 13:30 hrs.




Stage distance:300.10 km
Total distance: 1202.11 km
Number of stages: 18


Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team: Thierry Neuville heads the Hyundai line-up as the provisional world championship leader following his Rallye Monte-Carlo victory last month. He’s joined in the Germany-based team by Ott Tänak, the winner in Sweden in 2023, and Esapekka Lappi, who takes over the third i20 N Rally1 Hybrid from Andreas Mikkelsen. 

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team: Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster represent the British squad’s youthful look in 2024. It won Rally Sweden last year with then lead driver Tänak.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT: Reigning champion Kalle Rovanperä makes his first start of 2024 in place of Sébastien Ogier, who was second on Rallye Monte-Carlo and is also contesting selected rounds. Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta are Rally Sweden winners in the past – overall and in WRC2 respectively. Privateer Lorenzo Bertelli drives a fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid.


Having chosen not to nominate Rallye Monte-Carlo as one of his seven scoring rounds, Oliver Solberg begins his WRC2 title bid on his home event aboard a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. Isak Reiersen, who makes his WRC2 debut, is Solberg’s compatriot and childhood friend.

William Creighton steps up to WRC2 as the Junior WRC champion. The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy-supported driver’s Ford Fiesta Rally2 is his prize for his 2023 title success. 

Finns Sami Pajari and 2022 national champion Mikko Heikkilä are among the drivers relying on the new-for-2024 Toyota GR Yaris Rally2. Toyota development drivers Hikaru Kogure and Yuki Yamamoto step up to Rally2 level for 2024.

Fabrizio Zaldivar returns to WRC2 as the FIA CODASUR champion from 2023, while Emil Lindholm starts his pursuit of a second WRC2 title driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally1. Lauri Joona and last season’s FIA WRC3 champion Roope Korhonen also feature on the WRC2 entry list.

Jan Černý (Ford Fiesta Rally3) goes for more WRC3 glory in Sweden following his dominant Rallye Monte-Carlo success. 

After finishing runner-up in the 2023 FIA Junior WRC Championship, Diego Dominguez is the leading seed for the opening round of the five-event Junior WRC season, which has attracted a hugely impressive 19 entries. Norbert Maior graduates to Junior WRC as the 2023 Junior ERC champion. Tom Resonnet represents the RACB National Team, while Eamonn Kelly competes under the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy banner.


The four drivers who graduated from the FIA Rally Star Training Season are preparing to take the next step of their careers on Rally Sweden. Jose Caparo (Peru), Taylor Gill (Australia), Romet Jürgenson (Estonia) and Max Smart (South Africa) are contesting the FIA Junior WRC Championship as reward for their achievements in 2023 as part of the FIA’s talent detection scheme. They prepared for Rally Sweden by completing a training course at the John Haugland Winter Rally School in Norway.


Follow this link to view the FIA World Rally Championship event schedule for 2024.


Media accreditation

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Desk, Rally HQ, Nolia, Signalvägen 3, SE-903 22 Umeå, Sweden. 

Media Accreditation – Opening hours:

Tuesday 13 February:14:00-20:00 hrs
Wednesday 14 February:08:00-21:00 hrs
Thursday 15 February:08:00-22:00 hrs

Media Centre

The Media Centre is located at: Rally HQ, Nolia, Signalvägen 3, SE-903 22 Umeå, Sweden. 

Media Centre - Opening hours

Tuesday 13 February: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs
Wednesday 14 February: 08:00 – 21:00 hrs
Thursday 15 February:  08:00 – 21:00 hrs
Friday 16 February: 07:30 – 21:00 hrs
Saturday 17 February:  07:30 – 21:00 hrs
Sunday 18 February: 07:30 – 20:00 hrs

Rally Sweden - Media Activities and Opportunities 

Wednesday 14 February 
16:00Mandatory Tabard Media Safety Briefing (Media Centre)
18:10-18:35Autograph signing for fans & family photo P1 (City Hall Square, Rådhustorget, Umeå)

Thursday 15 February
09:01 – 10:00Shakedown for P1 and other invited crews (Håkmark, 5.42 km)
10:01 – 11:30Shakedown for P1 and P2 crews (Håkmark, 5.42 km)
11:00 – 12:30Shakedown for P2, P3 and P4 crews (Håkmark, 5.42 km)
12:00 – 13:00Shakedown for P3, P4 and Non-Priority crews (Håkmark, 5.42 km)
12:00 – 13:30FIA WRC Media Pen for P1 and P2 drivers (Support Arena, Service Park)
17:20Opening ceremony (Red Barn Arena)
17:30 – 18:00Autograph Session feat. P1 crews and crews n°21 and 51 (Red Barn Arena)
18:00 – 18:30FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews (Red Barn Arena)
18:40Start of the Rally (TC 0)
21:00Media Invitational Welcome Mingle (TBA)

Friday 16 February
08:20Start of Section 2 (TC 1B)
12:00 approx.Media Zone at TC4A (Support Arena, Service Park)
17:45 approx.Media zone at TC71 (Red Barn Arena)
18:10 approx.FIA WRC Meet the Crews, P1 team principals & top 3 drivers (Red Barn Arena)

Saturday 17 February
07:00Start of Section 5 (TC 8D)
11:30 approx.Media Zone at TC11A (Support Arena, Service Park)
18:00 approx.Media zone at TC14A (Red Barn Arena)
18:20 approx.FIA WRC Meet the Crews, P1 team principals & top 3 drivers (Red Barn Arena)

Sunday 18 February
06:45Start of Section 8 (TC 15D)
08:15 approx.Media Zone at TC16A (Support Arena, Service Park)
11:00 approx.Autograph signing with P1 drivers for fans (Red Barn Arena)
12:30 approx.Media Zone at TV18A (holding area behind final podium, Red Barn Arena)
13:15Prize-giving & FIA post-event press conference for outright winners (Red Barn Arena)
14:00FIA post-event press Conference for support championship winners (Red Barn Arena)

*Podium finishers (top 3 of each class) must remain available for a minimum of 15 min after their respective podium ceremony for media interviews, or until dismissed by the FIA media delegate.

Media zones

Media Zones attended by all drivers and selected team representatives will operate as follows: TC4A, TC7A, TC11A, TC14A, TC16A, TC18A

•    Media Zone inside the Service Park (TC4A, TC11A and TC16A) will take place at the interview area inside the Support Arena. P1 and P4 drivers are requested to arrive immediately after parking their car within in the service bay during flexi service, and P2 and P3 drivers during the regroup.
•    Media Zone at Red Barn Arena’ (TC7A and TC14A) will take place at the interview area inside the Rally Sweden partner tent. All crews are requested to arrive immediately after parking their car in the Red Barn Arena regroup area. Shuttle transportation from the media centre to the Red Barn Arena will be available for media representatives.
•    The final Media Zone at TC18A will take place in the podium holding area.

FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews - Red Barn Arena, Thursday 15 February

18: 00 – FIA WRC Team Principals
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)
Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – Cyril Abiteboul (FRA)
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – Malcolm Wilson (GBR)

18:10 – FIA WRC Support Championships
WRC2 - Toksport WRT – Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
WRC2 / WRC2 Challenger - William Creighton (IRL), Ford Fiesta Rally2
WRC3 - Filip Kohn (CZE), Ford Fiesta Rally3
WRC3 - Jan Černý (CZE), Ford Fiesta Rally3
JWRC - Mille Johansson (SWE), Ford Fiesta Rally3
JWRC - FIA Rally Star – Romet Jürgenson (EST), Ford Fiesta Rally3

18:20 – FIA WRC Championship
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Thierry Neuville (BEL), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
M-Sport Ford WRT – Grégoire Munster (LUX), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid

Post-event FIA Press Conference - Red Barn Arena, Sunday 18 February (13:30)

Slot 1: Top 3 drivers in overall class., winning co-driver and representative of winning manufacturer
Slot 2: FIA WRC2, WRC2 Challenger, WRC3, WRC Masters Cup and Junior WRC winning drivers

* FIA WRC Meet the Crews live interviews on Thursday 15 and the post-event FIA Press Conference on Sunday 18 February will be broadcast live on the WRC Youtube and social media channels.


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTElfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Takamoto Katsuta (JPN)/Aaron Johnston (IRL) - #18
 Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) - #4
M-Sport Ford WRTAdrien Fourmaux (FRA)/Alexandre Coria (FRA) - #16
 Grégoire Munster (LUX)/Louis Louka (BEL) - #13


1. O. Tänak (EST)/M. Järveoja (EST)Ford Puma Rally12h25m54.5s
2. C. Breen (IRL)/J. Fulton (IRL) Hyundai I20 N Rally1+18.7s
3. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL)Hyundai i20 N Rally1+20.0s


2023Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST)Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid
2022Kalle Rovanperä (FIN)/Jonne Halttunen (FIN)Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
2020Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Scott Martin (GBR)Toyota Yaris WRC
2019Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST)Toyota Yaris WRC
2018Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC