Conditions on Rally Sweden are changing all the time ahead of this week’s World Rally Championship round, with the situation still uncertain as drivers recce the route.
The itinerary has already been cut from 18 to 11 stages due to the recent relatively warm weather leaving little snow and ice on the route, raising the risks of stages being damaged by the cars’ studded tires and speeds rising excessively without snowbanks to temper the drivers’ pace.
Snow was falling on the Norwegian stages as DirtFish’s Colin Clark began his survey of the route on Wednesday morning local time, but the temperature rapidly rose as the day progressed.
M-Sport team boss Rich Millener took the unusual step of heading out on the recce himself to assess the situation, and shared his findings with DirtFish in the video at the top of the page.
“It’s going to be tough, the first stage is in pretty good condition and the second is more difficult,” Millener said before beginning his drive through the third of the stages.
“Coming up this morning, the road was competely different to how it is now. There was a good amount of snow last night but it’s already disappeared again on the main roads.
“That’s a bit slower in the forests, it’s not so bad. But it’s going to be a tricky weekend for drivers, very different to what we’re used to.
“We’ve got to remember rallying is a challenge. We’ve got to just do the best we can for the conditions we’ve got.”
Regardless of the level of snowfall, the ice base on the stage roads is the crucial element.
If that remains solid, the damage to the roads from the studs is minimized.
The current forecasts for the rest of the week suggest cold overnight temperatures that will help keep the base frozen.
“When you actually get into the middle of the forest, a lot of the base of the roads is quite hard and that will stnad up to a bit of ripping up from the tires,” Millener added.
“But it doesn’t look like a Swedish Rally, which is what we all want.
“There are some seconds that are going to be difficult and cut up in looser gravel, but we’ve got to remain positive.
“We’ve come here to bring some entertainment and have a rally.”