Harsh winter conditions and fast cars, a match made in heaven!
Round two of the FIA WRC season brought us to the frozen forests of Sweden and Norway. The scenery was stunning, the rally even more so!
After the thrilling curtain raiser in Monte-Carlo, the battle between Ogier and Neuville was expected to resume in Sweden. But things changed fast. The winter conditions were a challenge to all teams making it a feast for the eye for everyone! Tänak won pace from early on, leaving Neuville right behind him while Ogier lost a huge amount of time when his car got stuck.
From start to finish, the Sweden rally drowned in the crowds. The cheering rally fans clearly had a good time bringing blocks of wood and food for their many bonfires, watching the cars make their jumps and enjoyed an occasional rally car push out of the snow banks. Though the rally must have been a lot of fun for the spectators, not to forget about the high jumps at Colin’s Crest, the winter challenges were not to be overseen.
The forest brought along snow, ice, mud and even gravel at some points. Once starting off with studded tires to conquer the snow, the rally drivers were in full focus for the differing driving conditions. Snowy roads quickly turned into ice and mud resulting in a dubious grip.
From on the road to next to the road: the infamous snowbanks! Known to be tricky but often used to bounce back on the road, these are the real deal breakers. It’s a thin line even for two-time World Rally Champion on a onetime comeback, Marcus Grönholm, as he experienced it firsthand. For him and other drivers, shovels were an essential must-have, but not all of them were as successful. The deserved victory was for Ott Tanäk melting the road with his blistering pace.
On to some sun at the Rally Guanajuato Mexico!