Thursday evening with a superspecial in Karlstad, the Rally of Sweden on course to be kicked. It is the 2nd of a total of 13 rallies that count for the world championship. Sébastien Ogier (Ford Fiesta WRC) won 3 weeks ago, the Monte Carlo, the opening match of the world cup. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), ended, after a slipper in the opening stage, still on the 5th place. Both riders, along with a handful of Scandinavians favourites for the stage win.
The Rally of Sweden is a classic in the world cup. Since 1973 and the start of the world cup dominated this race already on the calendar. The Rally Sweden is the only winterrally of the season. The past few weeks, there is in Törsby and the surrounding area a lot of snow making this year a real old-fashioned Rally of Sweden. The cars are equipped with studded tyres that the riders at high speeds, drifting between the trees, leaning against the high sneeuwmuren.
Sébastien Ogier won this race in the past already 3 times and is the big favorite for the stage win. Competition should he expect of, among others, Thierry Neuville. The Oostkantonner had last year a lead of 43 seconds to he on Saturday during the superspecial a wheel broke off and had to give up. The Est Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris WRC) and the finn Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris WRC) ended in the opening match in the wake of Ogier, and want to confirm it in Sweden. Latvala won in the past 3 times the Rally of Sweden. For the first time in 2008. It was the first world cup victory ever for the Fin. Citroen has with Mats Ostberg (Citroen DS3 WRC), a candidate-winner in the ranks. The past 7 editions, he finished 5 times on the podium.
Spread over 4 days, 19 klassementsritten driven, good for 314.25 km away at the time. The rally starts on Thursday with a superspecial in Karlstad. On Friday, 7 klassementsritten driven of which 6 are on Norwegian territory. The day after the participants receive 8 klassementsritten for the wheels pushed, including twice on the ride of Vargasen known to jump Colin’s Crest in memory of the died in 2007 world champion Colin McRae. In 2014 jump by Thierry Neuville, 44 metres far. The record of Colin’s Crest is on the name of Eyvind Brynildsen. In 2016 jumped the Noor with his Ford Fiesta R5 but less than 45 metres away. On the final day, there are still 3 klassementsritten driven including the powerstage. The rally ends Sunday afternoon around 13: 15 cet.
Thierry Neuville: “Race last year to confirm, but then without error”
Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) seemed last year on the way to the victory in the Rally of Sweden to them in a short showetappe in the error went away, and the fight had to discontinue. After Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb would Neuville only the 3rd non-Scandinaviër on the hall of fame. The Oostkantonner, which is full of confidence, will this weekend do better than last year.
“The Rally Sweden is a fun rally. Last year we managed to have a high pace to hold on. Pity that error Saturday night. I have learned from them and going to try this year to do better”, and allowed Thierry Neuville to start recording.
“This year I want to, just like last year, again to compete for the overall victory, but with a better result than my 13th place from last year. The Rally of Sweden is a unique rally. It is the only race of the year where we have studded tyres to use. Sweden is also one of the fastest races of the year. Both for the riders and for the fans along the side of the road is an impressive rally. We want to make the fans happy but most of all, a good result.”
Peter Chun: “This rally was long on my bucketlist”
Kevin Abbring and Peter Chun (Ford Fiesta R5) lay in the Monte Carlo on the way to a great result to the duo Saturday morning of the job went and the radiator damaged. The duo reached the finish of the klassementsrit, but had to give up with a broken motor. In Sweden they start with fresh courage and a new source of power.
“The Rally of Sweden, has long been on my bucketlist”, explained Peter Chun. “I am happy that I now should delete it. The past few days we have tested and the route explored. I don’t easily scare into a car, and now I have already a few competitions as a co-rider on the counter. But at 140 km/h between the trees, slide on a set of studded tyres to it for the necessary jitters in the belly. It was downright impressive. There is a lot of snow and the sneeuwmuren are gigantic. For me, this is the first Rally of Sweden. Kevin finished in 2015 with a Hyundai WRC on the 11th place. The disappointment of the Monte Carlo has taken place for motivation in Sweden. We start with a new engine that we last Monday thoroughly tested. The feeling is good. We aim for a place in the top 10 and if possible the top 5 of our class. Easy the not with 26 R5 cars at the start including 14 Skoda’s and quite a lot of Scandinavians.”
Together with Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) and Pieter Chun (Ford Fiesta R5) with Martijn Wydaeghe a 3rd Belgian at the start. Wydaeghe forms a team with the Italian Tamara Molinaro (Ford Fiesta R5).