Rally Sweden’s shortened route means drivers will have to be neater, tidier and faster than ever to win, according to six-time World Rally champion Sébastien Ogier.
The Toyota driver said he expected the pace of the second round of this year’s WRC to be frenetic, with no opportunity for a driver to play themselves in.
Ogier said: “We’ve seen in recent times, no matter how long the rally is the gap at the end of the event is nearly always very close.
“This time there will be no room for mistakes, there’s going to be no time to catch back the time if it’s lost.
“We will need to be on it from the start.
“It’s going to be a challenging weekend and we will all be waiting for some surprises.
“The biggest challenge is to adapt to this new situation.
“As long as the conditions remain constant it should be OK, then you know what you have. In some sections we have a lot of gravel, full gravel – if this continues then you know what you get.
“The challenge is managing the tyres in some of the mixed conditions.”
Warm weather conditions have forced the organisers to cut the route from 19 stages and 187 miles to 10 stages and 105 miles. There remains a chance further tests could be cut from the itinerary – or individual stages could be trimmed if sections of the road are deemed unworkable.
Ogier has a solid record on shortened WRC rounds, having won the 2011 Rally Jordan and also Rally Sweden when it was last hit by a lack of snow and ice four years ago.