What’s the secret of Rally GB’S changing weather conditions? says...
Why is everybody talking about the conditions in Wales? What makes these roads so specific? Why is it better to run first?
To our untrained eye, one forest road looks like another. Don’t be fooled. Grip will be hanging on the stages and, most likely, deteriorating with every car.
After a dry start to the month – a direct contrast to last season – the surface of the road shouldn’t be too muddy. As every car passes, however, that crust of grip gets broken and the inevitable damp which sits beneath the surface is uncovered bringing more and more mud to the top.
This isn’t a uniform process, however, and that’s the dark art of Wales Rally GB. Most drivers have sussed that if they see a section of larger rocks and gravel – mainly used to fill a rutted section – they’re going to get more grip. They will also be well aware of the caution required when they see log piles; asked what he thought when he saw a pile of logs at the side of the road, Marcus Gronholm once replied: “Sh*t! No grip.” He’s right. In piling the logs, the forestry machines will churn the road up and often turn it to deep mud.
Those are the obvious ones, there are myriad other colour-weather combinations which can reward or punish seemingly at will.
Don’t forget, it all changes for the second run, where the passing of the entire field – and on Friday the national cars – could polish the surface. Or they could muddy it up a bit to bring more grip.
Last year it rained in the run up to the event, washing away that top layer and leaving grippier bedrock – which is how Kris Meeke was able to compete from a start position further down.