WRC - 2018 Rally Sweden - Preview

09.02.18

The second round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders into the snowy Scandinavian forests for Rally Sweden.

As the only true winter round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden (15-18 February) is unique; cars running on skinny tyres equipped with tungsten-tipped steel studs, mandatory shovels and drivers wearing heated racing boots and anti-glare glasses. The challenge is like no other in the series and the truly spectacular backdrop is a white winter wonderland. 

Frozen roads are lined with snow banks, which the drivers ‘lean’ cars against to help guide them round corners but, in warmer temperatures, the banks disintegrate on impact potentially leaving cars stuck in the snow. Being able to judge these conditions, save studs on differing road surfaces and acclimatise to different braking points is crucial for success. Because of its fast and specialised nature, Rally Sweden has been dominated by Nordic drivers during its 65 editions, Frenchman Sébastien Loeb becoming the first outsider to claim victory back in 2004. Since then, only Sébastien Ogier has achieved a similar feat and he and Jari-Matti Latvala have locked out the top step of the podium over the last six years.

In Sweden, each of the four registered manufacturers is fielding three nominated crews with Mads Østberg joining Citroën for one of his favoured events. Teemu Suninen also starts the first of his eight outings in the Ford Fiesta WRC and Hayden Paddon is back with Hyundai. There is a strong 15-car entry in the highly competitive FIA WRC 2 Championship category and this will be the opening round of the FIA Junior WRC Championship. No fewer than 14 crews from 12 different countries over three continents have registered in the one-make series and an additional two crews join this two-wheel drive competition in the WRC 3 Championship. Reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson will also be contesting his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship in a non-registered Škoda Fabia R5.

The opening stage in Karlstad, SS14 on Saturday and the Power Stage will be broadcast live on television, with all stages also available on WRC All Live on the WRC+ platform.

ROUTE GRAPHICS

2018-sweden-map-ss.png

THE 2018 ROUTE

This year, approximately 24% of the route is new compared to 2017; this is made up of modifications to a number of stages and one re-introduced, Torntorp, which was last run in 2014. The rally has also moved its HQ from Karlstad to Sunne, 35 kilometres south of the Torsby service park.  Traditionally the event kicks off with the crowd-pleasing super special stage in Karlstad on Thursday evening and Friday then heads into the Swedish and Norwegian forest stages. With the exception of Torsby, and part of Röjden, the route essentially runs in Norway and is the longest of the event. Saturday returns to Sweden and takes in the now famous ‘Colin’s Crest’ in the Vargåsen stage, where an award in the name of the late Colin McRae is given for the longest jump. The day is rounded off with another run around the Karlstad stage before returning to Torsby for a short 3.43 kilometre sprint run in darkness. Sunday covers just three stages in Sweden, Likenäs run twice before the concluding Torsby Power Stage, which first ran on Friday. 

RALLY DATA

Total distance:
Stage distance:
Number of stages:

1,400.79 km
314.25 km (22.4%)
19

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

The Accreditation Centre is located at the Selma Spa, Sundbergsvägen 3, Sunne. The opening hours are:

Tuesday 13 February
Wednesday 14 February
Thursday 15 February

14:00 - 21:00 hrs
09:00 - 21:00 hrs
09:00 - 21:00 hrs

RALLY SWEDEN TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES ORGANISED BY THE FIA

Wednesday 14 February
Mandatory media safety briefing, media work room, Torsby

Thursday 15 February
Shakedown (P1 drivers)
Shakedown (P1, P2 and P3 drivers)
Shakedown (non priority drivers)
Meet the Crews', Service Park, Torsby
FIA Press Conference, Press Room, Rally HQ
Autograph session, Karlstad SS
Opening ceremony and presentation of drivers, Karlstad
SS1

Friday 16 February
First car arrives for regroup, service and
Media Zone, Torsby
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Torsby
'Meet the Crews', Service Park, Torsby

Saturday 17 February
First car arrives for regroup, service and
Media Zone, Torsby
Regroup, Karlstad
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Torsby
'Meet the Crews', Service Park, Torsby

Sunday 18 February
Regroup, Ambjörby
Regroup and Media Zone, Torsby
Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Service Park, Torsby
FIA Press Conference, Press Room, Rally HQ


17:00 hrs


08:00 - 09:30 hrs
09:30 - 11:30 hrs
11:30 - 13:30 hrs
12:00 hrs
15:00 hrs
18:15 - 18:45 hrs
19:00 hrs
20:08 hrs


11:16 hrs

17:21 hrs
During the 45' service


11:08 hrs

17:02 hrs
19:46 hrs
During the 45' service


08:27 hrs
11:16 hrs
13:00 hrs
15:00 hrs

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

Thursday 15 February









Sunday 18 February

Dennis Rådström, FIA Junior/WRC 3 Championship
David Holder, FIA Junior/WRC 3 Championship
Jari Huttunen, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Pontus Tidemand, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Johan Kristoffersson
Mads Østberg, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
Teemu Suninen, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 
Jari-Matti Latvala, Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT

Winning FIA Junior/WRC 3 Championship crew/s
Winning FIA WRC 2 Championship crew
Top three crews in the overall classification
Representative of the winning competitor

MANUFACTURER ENTRIES, RALLY SWEDEN

M-Sport Ford WRT



Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT



Toyota GAZOO 
Racing WRT


Citroën Total Abu Dhabi
WRT 

Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (#1)
Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (#2)
Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (#3)

Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger (#4)
Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (#5)
Hayden Paddon / Sebastian Marshall (#6)

Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (#7)
Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (#8)
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (#9)

Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (#10)
Craig Breen / Scott Martin (#11)
Mads Østberg / Torstein Eriksson (#12)

ADDITIONAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES 

Autograph Signing Session: On Friday and Saturday selected crews will be available for a 15 minute autograph session. This will take place in the service park during the end of day service at the teams’ service areas. 

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

The provisional classifications for all the WRC Championships can be found on the following link:

www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2018/standings

STAGE CHART

Shortly after the finish of the event, a downloadable stage chart showing the progressive positions of the leading crews during the rally will be available. This is copyright free for editorial purposes and available at the following link:

www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2018/stage-chart-0