PLUS: THIS WEEKEND’S WRC ROUND HIT BY WEATHER
While Rally Sweden’s long term World Rally Championship future is a hot topic in the service park this week, it’s the rather more prosaic lack of cold weather which is catching most people’s attention.
The lack of snowfall has left the WRC’S winter rally looking waterlogged and decidedly un-wintery.
The organisers revealed a new itinerary on Monday ( see left), but this is very much dependent on temperatures diving below freezing point from the middle of the week onwards. If that doesn’t happen, the event will almost certainly be cancelled.
The recce has been moved and will now run Wednesday-thursday rather than Tuesday-Wednesday. Thursday’s Shakedown stage has been canned, along with the superspecial in Karlstad later that evening.
The potential damage to the roads from more than 100 crews running studded tyres on wet gravel would force the organisers’ hand. The cost of repairing the public roads after the rally would be enormous.
On top of that, there’s the safety implication for crews running on tyres which would soon lose their studs and have zero grip when they do find occasional patches of ice.
Rally boss Glen Olsson told MN: “The weather all over Europe has not been normal this year. Further south in Europe, it’s 17 degrees and people are wearing their shorts. Here we haven’t had the kind of minus degrees we would have wanted. We had some more warm days last week and this does make it difficult – it could make the roads quite soft on the second pass.
“It’s a lottery. Last year we had good conditions with the snow, but up north in Ostersund the grass was green at the same time. Going north doesn’t guarantee the weather, but it will make the costs twice as high.”
Despite some tricky conditions in recent years, 1990 is the only year the Swedish Rally has ever been cancelled because of the lack of snow.
The Historic element of the rally has also been cancelled because of the weather.