Rally Sweden’s search for snow has taken the event north for a route which is 92% new from this year.
The organizers of the February 11-14 event have prepared what’s widely regarded as a stop-gap itinerary as the team looks for a longer-term solution to make the event snow-sure.
FIA president Jean Todt warned Rally Sweden there could be no repeat of this year’s snow-free rally.
Todt told DirtFish in February: “Since a few years now there is not the snow we used to expect and to love for such a rally. We know we are facing global warming of the planet – this is why we put so much attention on the environment because of the consequences of the climate change.
“Saying that, I’m sure everybody has learned from this experience. The important thing is that the rally is on [this week] and this will not happen again.
“We will make sure [it will not happen again] and this is something we have been discussing already with the organisers and our promoter that we are going to take measures to ensure continuity with the Swedish Rally, but taking into account this experience.”
The answer is a route which remains based in Torbsy, but now includes stages north out of the Värmland region into Dalarna.
The only roads remaining from this season are Karlstad’s trotting track superspecial for Thursday night. The Torsby sprint stage will be used on Friday and Saturday evening and a shortened Vargåsen test will run twice before and after lunchtime service on Saturday, including the Colin’s Crest jump section so popular with fans.
Friday’s first full day of competition is the most northerly with two long stages (Lima East, 16 miles and Lima West, 17 miles) repeated twice with a tire fitting zone splitting them.
Saturday maintains the cross-border aspect of the event with new stages heading into Norway. SS8 Röjden starts in Sweden and finishes in Norway while SS9 Skrockarberget does the opposite.
Likenäs remains the powerstage from this season.
“We really want to experience a great winter rally again after last year’s nightmare weather conditions,” said Rally Sweden CEO Glenn Olsson. “This set-up feels safer and hopefully the COVID-19 situation develops in an acceptable way the coming months.”
Torsby’s most famous family is in favor of the changes, with Pernilla Solberg telling DirtFish: “This is a fantastic route. Using the remote services to move north towards an area where we expect much more snow than further south in Värmland is a really good alternative.
“Of course, I’m really happy that we stay in Torbsy, this is my home town, so sometimes I look with rose tinted glasses and think too much with my heart – but I know how much the rally means for the Torsby community and for the whole of Värmland.
“The route is really new, but I do know some of the roads further north. Not many of them have been on the Swedish Rally, but we have done events in Dalarna and Lima – in Lima we usually have snow banks of one-and-a-half meters!
“I’m really pleased with the work Glenn and his team have done; congratulations to them and I’m sure there’s going to be some great co-operation between all the clubs and marshals further north.”
2021 Rally Sweden itinerary (all times local)
Thursday February 11
Shakedown Skalla (4.26 miles)
SS1 Karlstad SSS 1 (0.67 miles) 20:08
Friday February 12
SS2 Lima East 1 (16.1 miles) 08:27
SS3 Lima West 1 (17.08 miles) 09:44
SS4 Lima East 2 (16.1 miles) 12:06
SS5 Lima West 2 (17.08 miles) 13:23
SS6 Hagfors (6.89 miles) 15:45
SS7 Torsby Sprint 1 (1.73 miles) 17:05
Saturday February 13
SS8 Röjden 1 (11.18 miles) 07:48
SS9 Skrockarberget 1 (13.85 miles) 08:41
SS10 Kristinefors 1 (14.72 miles) 09:35
SS11 Vargåsen 1 (5.21 miles) 11:08
SS12 Vargåsen 2 (5.21 miles) 14:08
SS13 Röjden 2 (11.18 miles) 15:40
SS14 Skrockarberget 2 (13.85 miles) 16:33
SS15 Kristinefors 2 (14.72 miles) 17:27
SS16 Torsby Sprint 2 (1.73 miles) 18:30
Sunday February 14
SS17 Kindsjön 1 (11.8 miles) 08:55
SS18 Likenäs 1 (12.17 miles) 10:08
SS19 Likenäs 2* (12.17 miles) 12:18