Rally Sweden 2024 – Sunday’s Report

The final day dawned then of the only snow and ice round of the world championship and could Esapekka and Janne hold on and take a very popular victory? Having been in this position at Rally Finland in 2017, they certainly knew what was needed to get their car over the line.

The other question was could Elfyn and Scott pass Adrien and Alex for second place? Of course, the points were reset to the Sunday points table and the M-Sport crew had secured second place points at the end of Saturday’s stages.

First up was SS16 Västervik 1 – 25.50 km and with the sun rising as the crews started, Kalle came through to win the stage from Elfyn and Takamoto. Adrien was sixth fastest in the stage and this meant that Elfyn passed the Frenchman for second place overall, now five seconds behind the Toyota crew. In WRC2 the top three fastest were Oliver, Roope and Sami. The young Swede continued to lead the category, now leading second placed Sami by a minute and eighteen seconds.


A couple of hours later the crews lined up for the second run of SS17 Västervik 2 – 25.50 km and this time it was Elfyn setting the pace from Thierry and Adrien. The Welshman jumped to the head of the standings for Sunday’s points as well, which was important to the points standings. In WRC2 Sami was fastest from Emil and Georg, whilst Oliver was still leading the category from Sami and Georg.

The final stage then, SS18 Umeå 2[Power Stage] – 10.08 km to decide the rally and Sunday’s points. Kalle set the early pace, going faster than Ott. His teammate was up on the splits as well and as Elfyn came through his Yaris bounced off one of the snowbanks and was ultimately one tenth of a second behind Kalle. Thierry was third fastest, Ott fourth and Takamoto fifth Meanwhile, EP came through finally and took his second victory. A brilliant Oliver set the fastest time in WRC2 from Georg and Roope, winning the category from Sami and Georg.

Let’s take a look at the final positions and hear from the drivers.

Final Overall Classification – Rally Sweden

1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 2:33:04.9
2 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +29.6
3 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +47.9
4 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +1:46.3
5 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +5:04.2
6 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia Evo +6:23.9
7 G. Linnamäe J. Morgan Toyota GR Yaris +6:26.4
8 R. Korhonen A. Viinikka Toyota GR Yaris +6:48.1
9 M. Heikkilä K. Temonen Toyota GR Yaris +7:25.7
10 L. Bertelli S. Scattolin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +7:37.7

Hyundai Motorsport

Esapekka Lappi

“This feels so good right now. I have been hunting for this second victory for quite a while. I have to say a big thanks to Cyril for keeping me in the team after a difficult second half of my 2023 season; this moment is such a huge contrast to that. A massive thank you to the team, and to my family at home as well. We are all here to win and when you achieve it, it is the best feeling in the world. It has been a brilliant rally – it could have been more entertaining with fewer retirements, but the snowbanks can be your friend or your enemy. This week they were my friend; I paid them well.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
15-18 February 2024
Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“It is good to get another victory for the team. It’s important even if the performance wasn’t the greatest, especially on the first passes. However, two victories in three weeks is great motivation for us – we only had two wins in the 2023 season. We had to get through without any mistakes, and I think we might have been the only crew who didn’t have any. We had to accept the situation of Friday and we hoped for a better Saturday, where we managed to climb up the rankings. I’m happy to be at the end with decent points.”

Ott Tänak

“It has been tricky this weekend to have the pace we needed to be fastest. Obviously the mistake on Friday was frustrating and afterwards even more so. We felt better in the car on Friday when the roads were a bit more slippery but when the grip improved we just weren’t comfortable. From my side, definitely too many mistakes to start the season but we know we can be a lot better. We’re looking forward to having a clean rally in Kenya.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“It’s been a very up-and-down weekend. It wasn’t looking so good on Friday when we had a difficult job with our road position. But we managed to get through it which I think was important and gave us the opportunity to climb back up the leaderboard. When conditions were suiting us, our pace was quite OK and today we managed get some good points in the end. I think we probably should have won the Power Stage but made a couple of mistakes at the end. Still, from where we were earlier in the weekend and to come out of it with a good haul of points, I think we can be reasonably happy.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“Our only goal today was to help the team to get some points and I’m pleased that we were able to do that, and we also tried to help Elfyn where we could. Of course, I’m not satisfied with our weekend because we came here to win. Sorry and thanks to the team, because everyone did a really good job in our preparation, the car was fast enough to win, and we just couldn’t bring it all together. At least we could bring some points at the finish, and we will look forward to the next opportunity.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“Today I wanted to try and take some points, but it was not easy with our road position, and the very different lines that we had to follow in the Power Stage. It has been a difficult weekend for me. We had good performance and the car had very good potential, I was just not able to take the result from it. I need to think about how I can learn from this and do better next time so that I can take these chances when they come. The next event in Kenya has been good for me before, and I just need to reset and go with the right approach for that rally.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Adrien Fourmaux

“Really great to get my first podium at the top level in Sweden, my fourth rally on snow and the second of the 2024 season. We are now third in the championship, which is really positive and gives a lot of confidence and motivation to the whole team who have been working really hard. We can be really proud that we’re working all together, and it’s been working perfectly. We want now to just enjoy the podium, it’s been brilliant, and hopefully there are more podiums coming!”

Grégoire Munster

“We learned a lot here in Sweden and improved throughout the weekend. The gaps per kilometre were getting smaller and smaller, and that was the goal. Unfortunately, we made the small mistake on Saturday evening, but getting stuck in a snowbank is part of the experience of Rally Sweden! I think every driver who has done the rally has had that experience at some time. It was unfortunate as it makes extra work for the mechanics, but they fixed everything so it could go again on Sunday to give us even more experience, which I’m very glad to have had.”

William Creighton, 14th WRC2

“I’m happy to get all the kilometres in and to get to the finish. I’ve learned a lot and I just need to keep working on my side with the driving to try and get the most out of these cars. It’s not going to happen overnight, so I just need to keep working on it.

“It’s been great working with M-Sport, with the support of the Motorsport Ireland Academy, here at Rally Sweden and it has been so much fun with these conditions. The last two weekends have been very different and I’m really looking forward to the next event to try to keep on improving and see where we go.”


Oliver Solberg

“What can I say? It’s been a fantastic event. For my first (first points scoring) WRC2 round of the season, to win with Škoda like this is something very special. Škoda Motorsport is building a very special car with the Fabia RS Rally2 and it was a big pleasure to drive it here.

“The conditions were not easy – on Friday the snow was really deep in places and then on Saturday we were having some gravel coming through and all the time you had to be thinking about the tyres and trying to protect them.

“I think we showed the good pace on the first day and it was really cool to finish third overall, that was a pretty amazing feeling for me and to share that with the home fans and so many of my family… I was stoked for that.

“Saturday and Sunday was more about driving with the control. We had a lot to lose if we pushed too hard. We were sitting in fifth overall and with the good lead [in WRC2], so we didn’t want to take any big risks.

“Congratulations to the organisers for making a rally with such a special atmosphere and I want to say a big thanks to Elliott and the whole team for helping me to make this an amazing event.”


2024 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round two

1 T. Neuville 48
2 E. Evans 45
3 A. Fourmaux 29
4 S. Ogier 24
5 O. Tänak 21
6 E. Lappi 19
7 T. Katsuta 12
8 K. Rovanperä 11
9 O. Solberg 8
10 A. Mikkelsen 6


2024 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round two

1 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 87
2 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 87
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 47
2024 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
15 – 19 February 2024
Esapekka Lappi
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH


Well, what an amazing rally we were treated to and what a popular winner as well. Esapekka and Janne completely deserve this victory in Sweden and with it have matched the teams success from last season in terms of victories. Four stage wins for the Finns showed their pace at the front of the field.


For Elfyn and Scott, they recovered really well after their push to the front of the field for the last two stages on Friday. There was the 360 spin that they recovered from and took two stage wins along the way.

A first ever podium for M-Sport duo Adrien and Alex showed how far they had come since they last competed in this rally two years ago. During that rally they ran in fifth overall for quite a while before getting a penalty for being late to a time control and then having to retire with a mechanical issue. This year they set some top three times and added a stage win as well. It was a great drive from the French duo.

Finally let’s discuss the points awarded following this rally. The new points system meant that Elfyn and Scott who finished in second place actually took more points than Esapekka and Janne who of course won the rally. Now surely that can’t be right?! It’s a completely bizarre situation and I do wonder if the FIA will look again at this method of awarding points. We shall see.

Next rally on the calendar is the Safari Rally Kenya to be held from the 28th to 31st of March, much earlier this year and in its more traditional time of year near Easter. It will be spectacular!

Rally Sweden 2024 – Saturday’s Report

The second full day of competitive stages in Sweden would see the crews tackle 126km’s over seven stages. Ott Tanak and Kalle Rovanperä returned to the action and the Estonian would open the road.

First up was SS9 Vännäs 1 – 15.65 km and Ott was fastest from Elfyn, who was looking to close the gap to Oliver and Adrien who held third and fourth ahead of the Welshman before the stage. Adrien passed Oliver for third overall in this one. At the front of the field, Takamoto had a small nibble of time from EP, the gap now just nine tenths of a second between the leading pair of cars. In WRC2 Oliver was fastest from Sami and Mikko and the young Swede continued to lead Georg and Sami who held second and third place respectively in the category.

Into SS10 Sarsjöliden 1 – 14.23 km, and Kalle was fastest from Ott and Elfyn was third. The Welshman’s pace took him ahead of Oliver and into third place, whilst Adrien was also on the move up and gained second place. This was due to Takamoto sadly sliding out of second place after getting stuck in a snowbank. He and Aaron tried to dig the car out, but it was to no avail. They were out for the rest of the day. EP remained in the lead and had a huge lead of a minute and a half. In WRC2 Oliver was leading and Georg remained in second with Sami still third.

Next up, SS11 Bygdsiljum 1 – 28.06 km was won by an inspired Adrien from Thierry and Elfyn. The Frenchman increased his lead over Elfyn to 16.2 seconds. Meanwhile, Thierry gained one position and was now into fifth place overall. In WRC2 Oliver was still leading, but we had a change behind the Swede, with Georg dropping from second to fourth place after the Estonian had a spin in his Yaris Rally2. Sami was now up into second place and Roope up to third.

After the lunchtime service break, SS12 Vännäs 2 – 15.65 km Elfyn was fastest from Adrien and Esapekka, whilst Thierry was also on the move, passing Oliver for fourth place. The stage was rutting up and getting quite messy and all the crews were remarking on this at the end of the stage. In WRC2 Oliver was still leading, although managing the gap over Sami who was fastest in the stage from Roope and Georg.

The second run of SS13 Sarsjöliden 2 – 14.23 km saw an even more rutted stage and Thierry was fastest by just two tenths of a second from Elfyn and Adrien third. The gap between Adrien and Elfyn was brought down to 13.2 seconds. In WRC2, Jan was fastest from Oliver and Mikko.

Onto the penultimate stage then, SS14 Bygdsiljum 2 – 28.06 km and Thierry was again fastest from Elfyn and Thierry. Meanwhile, Georg was fastest from Sami and Oliver in WRC2, and the Estonian moved back into third place in the category and seventh overall.

The final stage then of the day, SS15 Umeå 1 – 10.08 km and Thierry was again fastest from Ott and Kalle. There was drama though for both M-Sport crews. Gregoire was near the end of the stage when his Puma went straight on at a left-hand corner and into a snowbank. He and Louis jumped out and with assistance from a marshal dug their car out. However, they lost a huge amount of time, but at least they made the finish. Adrien also had a slide at the same corner and somehow managed to keep his Puma out of the snowbank, just clipping the outer edges of it. Somehow the Frenchman still ended up faster than Elfyn, as the Welshman really struggled with his tyres on the stage surface.

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Saturday

1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 2:03:52.0
2 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +1:06.3
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:23.0
4 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +2:22.1
5 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +4:01.1
6 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia Evo +5:15.1
7 G. Linnamäe J. Morgan Toyota GR Yaris +5:15.3
8 R. Korhonen A. Viinikka Toyota GR Yaris +5:35.1
9 M. Heikkilä K. Temonen Toyota GR Yaris +5:51.2
10 L. Joona J. Hussi Toyota GR Yaris +6:29.3


Hyundai Motorsport

Esapekka Lappi

“I am feeling satisfied, we are in the best position possible, but it has not been really enjoyable to drive in this situation. We were trying to manage the lead and not take any risks in a bid to save the tyres for the final stages, but we did it. Today was clearly very demanding for the tyres, especially the first and last stage of the loops which were very abrasive. We are not finished yet and I don’t want to celebrate too early. There are still three stages to go, and two long stages in particular where anything can happen. I am happy we are in this situation, but it isn’t over yet.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
15-18 February 2024
Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“Things were getting better this afternoon but there was also a lot more gravel, and I felt more comfortable in the car. We have changed a lot of settings trying to find a good compromise for tomorrow, which will be an important day. I wouldn’t say I am satisfied but I at least I found a bit more traction. Hopefully that will continue to work on the first pass tomorrow. It’s always a challenge to look after the studs on our tyres, but I’ve always been good here in Sweden on the conditions in the second pass, especially if there is a lot of gravel. Hopefully we have found the necessary feeling and speed we need for tomorrow morning.”

Ott Tänak

“Not an easy day. In winter rallies it is always a bit ‘next level’ to open the road, particularly in the second loop. It is easy to get frustrated, but this is the penalty we have for what happened yesterday, so it is fair play. In these conditions you can’t really find a rhythm, you’re always fighting to keep the car on the road and it’s hard to be smooth as you need to be to protect the tyres. Hopefully the road condition tomorrow will play to our favour because we need to take as many points as possible.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“This morning was going quite well until a bit of a clumsy error on one junction in the last stage of the loop, where we took on some snow in the front of the car and lost quite a bit of power. I’m a bit disappointed with that as it cost us quite dear in the fight for second place. In the afternoon it was far more difficult to claw back time. On the second pass with a lot of gravel coming through, the tyre wear is high, and you have to try and save the studs: I had no rear grip left for the last stage. Tomorrow will be a big push for the whole day to score as many points as we can.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“It was nice to restart this morning, with much nicer conditions with the sun out. It’s not always easy to come back and push again after something like what happened yesterday, but we just tried to enjoy the driving and I could have a good feeling after the first stage of the morning. Being second on the road was not optimal, especially this afternoon on the second pass. There was not much of a clean line to follow, but overall, it was quite OK. Tomorrow we will try to do our best to help the team bring some more points: that’s our goal.”

Takamoto Katsuta

“This morning we were fighting for the lead and pushing hard. We had a good first stage and got much closer to the lead, and I wanted to continue pushing to try and gain more time. Unfortunately, in one corner in SS10 I was probably carrying a bit too much speed and I lost the rear, hit the snowbank and we got stuck there. I feel very disappointed and I’m really sorry for the team, because it could have been a very good weekend. I just need to learn from this kind of thing, and we still have tomorrow to see if we can gain some points.”

Oliver Solberg

“We didn’t have the same amount of snow from yesterday, but today was still a tricky day in its own way. I’m really happy to have extended the lead in WRC2, this is the priority for me.

“It felt like the car was quite sideways at times, but that’s understandable with so much snow still around. For me, I’m in that tricky position with a good advantage and a lot to lose and not so much to gain from pushing to the maximum. Today was about driving, trying to save some tyres and making sure everything was good with the car.

“Again, it’s been amazing to see so many Swedish flags out there and so many fans at the side of the road. When the sun comes out, the place is just beautiful. The priority is to bring everything home tomorrow. Like always, me and Elliott [Edmondson, co-driver] want to do that with a smile on our faces.”


The final day of this event will see the crews tackle 61km’s over three stages. Can EP hold on and secure what will be a popular second victory? Can Elfyn overtake Adrien and secure the points for second fastest on the final day? We shall see.

Rally Sweden 2024 – Friday’s Report

The first full day of this amazing rally and the stages, of which there were seven, with 107km’s of competitive kilometres ahead of the crews, what would this day give them in terms of challenge?

We had a short stage on Thursday evening to get things going and coming out of there, Kalle held the lead from Takamoto and Elfyn, giving Toyota a one-two-three at this point.

First up then was SS2 #42 Brattby 1 – 10.76 km, with a nod to Craig Breen who won this stage last year. Kalle was fastest from EP and Ott. The Estonian moved up a position and into third place overall, whilst Elfyn fell to fifth place. EP was also on the move gaining three positions and was into fourth place. In WRC2, Oliver Solberg held the lead from Sami and Georg.

Next up was SS3 Norrby 1 – 12.36 km and there was a full 360-degree spin for Elfyn in this one! Meanwhile, EP was fastest from Kalle and Takamoto. Of course, Thierry was opening the road and really struggling only able to hold seventh overall and now almost 26 seconds behind the leader. In WRC2, Oliver continued to take another stage win and led Sami and Georg was holding third.

The final stage of the morning loop, SS4 Floda 1 – 28.25 km and there was huge drama in this one as first Ott and then Kalle went off the stage. They were both out of the rally and would not continue. The result of this was that Takamoto, who was fastest in the stage from Elfyn and Adrien, moved into the lead, EP was now in second and Elfyn was third. In WRC2, the top three in the stage matched the top three overall with Oliver in the lead from Sami and Georg.

After the lunch break, SS5 #42 Brattby 2 – 10.76 km was next and the snow had continued falling and covered the stage in snow. Therefore, everyone was road sweeping. Fastest of the top class was EP, but even his time was beaten by five, yes, five rally2 cars, as Georg, Oliver and Mikko were the top three in the stage. Meanwhile Takamoto continued to lead, but with a reduced margin over EP of 5.3 seconds.

Into SS6 Norrby 2 – 12.36 km and with the snow still falling, EP was fastest from Georg in his Rally2 Toyota and Takamoto third. There was drama for Thierry, who said his car did not want to start, and he was late to the time control by four minutes. He was given a forty-second penalty, but crucially it meant that his closest title rival Elfyn would now open the road for the remaining stages, even though Thierry remained able to complete the road sections. With Elfyn now opening the road he lost third overall to Adrien, now 7.1 seconds behind the M-Sport driver.

The final proper stage of the day then, SS7 Floda 2 – 28.25 km and with Elfyn continuing to open the road, even though Thierry was still able to start the stage, the Welshman fell from fourth to sixth place. The conditions were really tricky out there with snow falling quite heavily on the stage. EP won the stage and took the lead of the rally with Takamoto falling to second place, whilst incredibly Oliver who was third in the stage, now moved up to third overall.

The final stage of the day then, SS8 Umeå Sprint 2 – 5.16 km and there was a return to a more normal top three with EP winning from Takamoto and Thierry. Elfyn was fifth fastest and gained one position into fifth overall.

Let’s take a look at the top positions and hear from the drivers.

Classification after Saturday

1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid 58:18.8
2 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid 3.2
3 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Škoda Fabia RS +1:20.7
4 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid +1:26.3
5 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid +1:50.0
6 G. Linnamäe J. Morgan Toyota GR Yaris +1:50.1
7 S. Pajari E. Mälkönen Škoda Fabia Evo +2:05.8
8 R. Korhonen A. Viinikka Toyota GR Yaris +2:08.6
9 M. Heikkilä K. Temonen Toyota GR Yaris +2:19.0
10 L. Joona J. Hussi Toyota GR Yaris +2:45.7
11 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid +2:46.0

Hyundai Motorsport

Esapekka Lappi

“This has been one of the toughest snow afternoons for me – ever! I have never driven in conditions like this, it’s pretty extreme even for a Finnish driver. So far, we have been fastest, so I am hoping for even more snow. This rally needs a completely different kind of driving style; you have to back off 35-40% just to brake easily and go front first on the corners. You can’t throw the car sideways at all, and the line you need to keep the car in at all times is very narrow. If you don’t, you’re just a passenger. We’re expecting better conditions tomorrow but once again it will be difficult to attack aggressively.”

2024 FIA World Rally Championship Round 2, Rally Sweden, 15-18 February 2024
Esapekka Lappi, Janne Ferm, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, Action during Day 1 of WRC Rally Sweden 2024
Photographer: Vincent Thuillier
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“Conditions have been far trickier than what we were hoping for at the beginning of the rally. Our target was to get through, but it wasn’t an easy day for us. We were fighting a bit with the car, and visibility wasn’t great this morning before our technical issue this afternoon. We managed to get the car fired up but we were four minutes late to the stage. After that, we were managing the problem for the whole loop. I just tried to get through the day and we ended it on a good note in the final stage. Now we are looking forward to a new day tomorrow, hopefully trouble-free and more enjoyable.”

Ott Tänak

“Normally the first loop is quite consistent and drivable, but we could see how much everyone was struggling today. We were feeling quite OK in the car this morning; we were definitely fast, but one pace note was perhaps a bit too optimistic. I hit the snowbank far too hard, and we spun, and that caused damage to the cooling package. We fixed it within the stage so we could drive out, and we managed to get the car back to service. It should be an easy repair and we expect to be back tomorrow.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Takamoto Katsuta

“It’s been really tough today with the conditions. Even on the first pass this morning there was a lot of snow and it just got more and more during the day. This morning I just tried to find a rhythm where we felt comfortable. We avoided big risks and this paid off pretty well. Then this afternoon was very difficult as we expected, and it was hard to stay on the road sometimes. I was trying to follow the lines but sometimes there was no line at all. I had to push to not lose too much time with Esapekka being two cars behind us: in the end we couldn’t quite keep the position but we’re still pretty close to the lead with two days to go. Let’s keep pushing.”

Elfyn Evans

“The conditions have been very, very difficult today. Even this morning, the visibility was low on the first stage and then after that there was a lot of loose snow and quite low grip. We had a high-speed spin in the second stage this morning and were quite lucky to get away with that as we did. It was looking a bit better for us at the end of the morning but then the weather took a turn for the worse this afternoon. The sheer volume of snow didn’t make it easy, especially once we were opening the road on the last three stages, because when conditions are this extreme it makes a big difference. Of course, we hope for better conditions tomorrow.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“It is a big pity that our day ended so early. We were having a good start to the rally and a good chance to fight for the win. The conditions were tricky with the heavy snowfall and the grip levels were changing quite a lot. We just went a bit wide in a right-hand corner. I think some drivers in front had already touched the bank so there was a big hole in it which just kicked us into a spin. We damaged the radiator and also picked up a puncture in the same moment, and although we could make some repairs we unfortunately could not continue today. I’m sorry for the team, but there are a lot of points available on Sunday and we will try to bring them home.”


Oliver Solberg

“What a day! It’s been a little bit crazy with the conditions sometimes. When the snow was coming really hard, the visibility was bad – it was like driving at night. You just couldn’t see, so you had to back off a little bit. Of course, with so much snow, the grip was not so high in many places.

We just kept pushing. In some places I think I might have saved my tyres a little bit too much, but I am very happy at the end of the day. Of course, I understand the [Rally1] cars at the front are having the conditions worse and cleaning more of the snow away – but, still, I will take this place overall! It’s fantastic and so nice to be giving my home fans something to cheer for.

“It looks like the conditions can be a bit more straightforward tomorrow.”


The second full day of competition will see the crews tackle 126km’s over seven more stages. What will the day bring? We shall see!

Rally Sweden 2022 Full Report – Kalle and Jonne take Victory!

It was a brilliant return to Sweden for round two of this year’s world rally championship, with young Finns Kalle and Jonne taking victory for the Toyota Gazoo WRT. Here’s the story as to how they took a third career win at the top level.


The first day saw 125km’s over seven stages and the startlist looked like this – Rovanperä, Breen, Neuville, Greensmith, Katsuta, Evans, Tänak, Fourmaux, Lappi, Solberg.

First stage then, Kroksjö 1, 14.98km and the top three was Ott, Kalle and Oliver and only one second covered the top three. The top Puma crew were Craig and Paul who held seventh and was a little over seven seconds from the lead.

Onwards then to SS2 Kamsjön 1 – 27.81 km and we had a change in the top positions. Esapekka was fastest from Kalle and Oliver and now he was in the lead from Kalle and Oliver. Ott dropped from the lead into fourth place. Two other drivers were also moving up with Elfyn moving into fifth and leapfrogging Thierry and Takamoto jumped into seventh. Unfortunately, Craig suffered a spin and was out.

Into SS3 Sävar 1 – 17.28 km and Kalle took his first stage win from Thierry and Elfyn. This performance was enough to take him into the lead with Thierry moving into second overall. Oliver incredibly remained in third overall after setting the fourth fastest time. Elfyn was also on the move gaining one place into fourth overall, passing Ott. Sadly, Esapekka had dropped from the lead to sixth overall and it was not all down to the stall on the line

After the service break, SS4 Kroksjö 2 – 14.98 km was next up and we had yet another different leader and stage winner, with Elfyn setting the fastest time from Esapekka and Oliver. The Welshman jumped three places into the lead and Kalle fell down to fourth place. It was still very close at the top though, with just 5.2 seconds covering the top five!

Into SS5 Kamsjön 2 – 27.81 km and fastest was Ott from Esapekka and Elfyn. The Welshman continued to lead from Ott who was now in second overall. Oliver was passed and was now down to fourth place. Thierry was also on the move, passing Kalle for fifth place.

SS6 Sävar 2 – 17.28 km was won by Thierry from Kalle and Esapekka and now the Belgian jumped into second place, just six tenths behind Elfyn. Kalle’s pace also lifted him up the leaderboard into fourth. There was disaster for Ott though who lost time in the stage with a problem with his hybrid unit and fell down to 28th overall.

The final stage then, SS7 Umeå Sprint – 5.53 km, and Kalle was fastest from Thierry and Takamoto. Elfyn was passed by the Belgian for the lead and fell to third overall behind Kalle as well.


Classification after Day One

1 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 1:02:31.2
2 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +4.3
3 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +7.4
4 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +8.8
5 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +28.1
6 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +1:18.9
7 A. Fourmaux A. Coria Ford Puma Rally1 +1:32.9
8 G. Greensmith J. Andersson Ford Puma Rally1 +1:48.1


Let’s hear from the drivers

Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville (1st)

“This has been an important day for the whole team, and a great start to this rally for us. Leading after the first day has certainly put smiles back on our faces after Monte-Carlo. We started well this morning. We had a red flag in the second stage, but we got a new notional time which kept us in our representative position. We made some small set-up changes at lunchtime service but only a few adjustments. I felt comfortable and I was able to drive fast. The car was working perfectly. We managed our tyres well in the afternoon to catch back important seconds and we made it into the lead. The rally is still long, and I am going to keep pushing hard.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
24-27 February 2022
Thierry Neuville
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Oliver Solberg (5th)

“At the end of this first day, I am happy. Fifth place is not really what we hoped for, but the pace this morning was good. I know that with consistent and clean speed, I am up there, and that’s very encouraging. We just need a bit more experience. I made a mistake with the tyres this afternoon, which was a gamble that didn’t pay off. That was a bit annoying, but we have a long weekend still ahead of us. We have to keep pushing. The others today have had times when they are on the limit, so tomorrow will come down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes. The aim for me is the same as today: drive clean, fast and stay smart.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä (2nd)

“I’m really happy to be in this position tonight. It was a better day than I had been expecting with our road position. The morning loop especially was good: We were right in the fight and the car was working well in those conditions. We expected the second pass to be more difficult and it was. In some places it was really difficult, like in the first stage of the loop with huge ruts. But we managed it quite well with no mistakes and got some time back at the end of the day with some good tyre usage. Tomorrow we’ll have the same starting place as our rivals and hopefully we can fight against them and push on.”

Elfyn Evans (3rd)

“I’m not completely happy with my day. This morning I didn’t quite feel at one with everything and I felt I could have gone a bit better. The afternoon started off pretty well in difficult conditions but we probably took a bit more out of the tyres than I would have liked. We paid a price for that in the final stage, which was slippery with fresh ice and a lot of junctions and the acceleration was difficult. The tyre management on snow is something I’ve been trying to work on since last year and there’s clearly still a bit of work to do. But we’re still in a good position for tomorrow.”

Esapekka Lappi (4th)

“It’s been a good comeback day for me. Not a perfect day, but close to it. It’s so nice to be in the battle for the podium, which was the target beforehand, and maybe still fighting for the victory. The gap is less than ten seconds, so anything can happen. It was really nice to get that stage win already this morning; this was giving us some extra boost for the day. I’ve still been getting comfortable in the car today and trying a few things with the setup: The extra power from the hybrid feels crazy, especially on the smaller roads. But I will be more ready for tomorrow than I was for this morning.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 02 / Rally Sweden 2022 / 24-27 February 2022 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT



With 82km’s over six stages on this day, who would be leading at the end of the day? The startlist looked like this – Breen, Tänak, Greensmith, Fourmaux, Katsuta, Solberg, Lappi, Evans, Rovanperä, Neuville.

Welshman, Elfyn was fastest in SS8 Brattby 1 – 10.49 km from Esapekka who had set the early benchmark in this first stage of the, with fellow GR Yaris Rally1 driver Kalle third. Kalle’s pace took him past Thierry and into the lead, but just seven tenths of a second ahead of the Belgian. Craig returned to the fight and was the fastest Puma driver as well, really encouraging for the M-Sport Ford team.

The top three of the following stage, SS10 Långed 1 – 19.49 km was Kalle, Ott and Elfyn. Thierry fell behind Elfyn as the Welshman moved up into second place and just four seconds from his teammate who still held the lead.

Craig took a stage win is SS11 Umeå 1 – 11.17 km from Kalle and Ott. Ott and Elfyn set the same time. There was another change in positions with former rally leader Thierry only going tenth fastest and dropping behind Esapekka in the overall standings to fourth. The Belgian duo were now 15 seconds behind Kalle, but remained within a few seconds of the podium positions.

Elfyn took SS12 Brattby 2 – 10.49 km from Thierry and Kalle, thereby reducing the lead that Kalle had to just 1.2 seconds. Thierry moved a little closer to the podium, the Belgian was now just three tenths from Esapekka.

Kalle was fastest in SS14 Långed 2 – 19.49 km from Elfyn and Thierry and extended his lead over his Welsh teammate to 5.7 seconds, whilst Thierry re-passed Esapekka. Adrien was having a good run, holding seventh overall, but his teammate Craig had a mechanical problem and fell down the leaderboard again.

The final stage of the day then, SS15 Umeå 2 – 11.17 km and Kalle was quickest from Elfyn who went off at the final corner and going over the snowbank at the side of the stage, hitting the red board. The car was stuck on the snowbank and Elfyn attempted to reverse back onto the stage, but this did not work. He went forwards instead and knocked a light that was lighting the side of the stage. The Welshman was eventually given a penalty for not following the correct line after the finish line.

Classification after Day Two

1 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 1:45:26.7
2 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +8.3
3 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +21.7
4 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +25.9
5 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +1:44.8
6 G. Greensmith J. Andersson Ford Puma Rally1 +2:48.1
7 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +5:19.9


Let’s hear from the drivers.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä (1st)

“Overall, it was a nice day and we have to be happy tonight to be where we are. The first stage of the loop seemed to be a little bit difficult for us compared to our rivals. But we were able to fight back well in the second stage on both loops. It’s good to be leading but the gap is still really small, so we need to keep pushing hard from the start tomorrow morning.”

Elfyn Evans (2nd)

“It’s been good fun today the car has generally been working well and I have really enjoyed it. It’s not been bad from my side, just a few errors here and there. Kalle’s done very well, he’s had a little edge on some stages and grown his advantage this afternoon. But it’s still pretty tight going into tomorrow. We’re going to keep trying to do our best and it’s not over until it’s over.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 02 / Rally Sweden 2022 / 24-27 February 2022 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Esapekka Lappi (4th)

“The car has been working well today, the feeling was really good and better than yesterday. We’ve been consistent, but just losing a little bit of time on each stage to our team-mates. We just seem to be missing a little bit at the moment, but it’s just very small details with the car, and maybe I just need more kilometres. We will keep pushing until the end tomorrow.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville (3rd)

“Not an easy day for us today, but we are in third place which I think would be a great achievement for us if we can hang onto that position tomorrow. We had a complicated morning; we were trying our best but the other three were going really quick. It was hard to resist them. We also went wide under braking in the final morning stage, and I had to spin the car round which lost us a couple of seconds. I thought we might have a chance in the dark stages to catch back some time, and we were able to gain back a position. Our main issue this weekend has been under braking, and we still have some work to do on the chassis to gain more confidence in this area. Let’s see what’s possible tomorrow – if we can finish on the podium, I’ll be satisfied.”

Oliver Solberg (5th)

“It is difficult to say exactly what happened. It seems we had a throttle issue after the long stage this afternoon; certainly, the car was not moving forward! Elliott and I, with quick communications from the team, tried to repair it. We were at least able to make it to the end of the day, which was the most important thing. This morning, things were not clicking, neither with the car nor with myself. We changed some stuff, and the car was behaving more consistently. I could push again, which was nice, back a little to the rhythm from yesterday. I couldn’t take huge risks, but the times were good. We go again tomorrow.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
24-27 February 2022
Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Hyundai i20 N Rally 1
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Ott Tänak (28th)

“We had nice conditions in the morning, the first stage was more snowy and the second one more icy and technical. We had to come back under re-start regulations, so we just had to do our job and have some fun. The pace didn’t really matter much, as we are not competing for anything meaningful. The second loop was tricky – harder work than in the gym. Tomorrow’s stages are generally fast, with straights and high-speed corners. It will be special.”



The final day then and as usual the shortest day with 5km over 4 stages. The startlist looked like this – Breen, Tänak, Solberg, Greensmith, Katsuta, Lappi, Neuville, Evans, Rovanperä.

SS16 Vindeln 1 – 14.19 km was first up and it led to disaster for Elfyn who had a spin in the stage, clipping a snow bank and his bonnet opened onto the windscreen. In the M-Sport Ford camp Adrien pulled out before even starting the stage with a mechanical problem. Kalle was fastest in the stage from Thierry and Oliver and with the exit of Elfyn, Thierry and Esapekka both moved up into second and third places respectively.

The first run through SS17 Sarsjöliden 1 – 14.23 km which would be the rally ending powerstage saw Ott go fastest from Oliver and Esapekka, whilst Craig remained quick with the fourth best time. Takamoto had a moment with a stall in the stage, but remained in fourth overall.

Into the penultimate stage then, SS18 Vindeln 2 – 14.19 km and Thierry was fastest from Esapekka and Kalle. The younger Finns were still firmly in the lead, a full 21.6 seconds ahead of the Belgians in their i20 Rally1.

The final stage then, SS19 Sarsjöliden 2 [Power Stage] – 14.23 km and the top five was Ott, Kalle, Thierry, Takamoto and Craig. Kalle had taken his third career victory at the top level and had moved into the championship lead as well. What a simply amazing drive from him and Jonne.

Final Overall Classification –Rally Sweden

1 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 2:10:44.9
2 T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +22.0
3 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +30.6
4 T. Katsuta A. Johnston Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +2:19.4
5 G. Greensmith J. Andersson Ford Puma Rally1 +3:20.4
6 O. Solberg E. Edmondson Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +5:39.4
7 A. Mikkelsen T. Eriksen Škoda Fabia Evo +7:11.1
8 O. C. Veiby S. Skærmoen Volkswagen Polo GTI +7:34.3
9 J. Huttunen M. Lukka Ford Fiesta MkII +8:14.2
10 E. Kaur K. Aleksandrov Volkswagen Polo GTI +8:24.8


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä (1st)

“It feels very good to win here in Sweden. It was a really nice fight the whole weekend. After being the first car on the road on Friday, this is a really good result. It was a bit of a pity that Elfyn went out this morning because it was a great fight, but otherwise it’s a very good result for the team. I struggled a bit in the first rally with this car in Monte Carlo, but now I felt much more confident over the whole weekend with the car. Big thanks to the team because it has been a big job for them to make the car better all the time and make me comfortable.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 02 / Rally Sweden 2022 / 24-27 February 2022 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Esapekka Lappi (3rd)

“It’s great to be back and to be back on the podium. That was my target before the weekend but I knew it would be tough. But we managed it and I’m so happy. I’m so proud of myself, of Janne and of the whole team. We didn’t have any issues on my car the whole weekend. I couldn’t get second place without taking more risks. It cannot have started better than this. To expect more would have been ridiculous. We had a long break; our last rally was in October last year so this is a top result.”

Takamoto Katsuta (4th)

“To finish the rally in fourth place is very good. In the beginning of the weekend, I was struggling a lot, but by the end I was very comfortable in the car and I was enjoying it a lot on the stages. Thank you so much to the team, because they changed a lot of things during each service and the feeling in the car was perfect at the end of the weekend. From Saturday onwards especially, I felt so comfortable in the car. In the Power Stage I tried a big push to get some extra points for the team and took two points, which was good even though there was room to improve. But the most important thing is that we finished the rally. Thanks to Aaron as well: He did a really good job during the weekend.”

Elfyn Evans (DNF)

“It was a huge disappointment for me to end the rally this way. Everything was going OK in the first stage but on a long left-hander I lost the rear-end of the car and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch it, so we had quite a high-speed spin. After making some repairs we managed to get going again but unfortunately, we had to stop for hybrid-related reasons. I’m sorry for the team because they’ve obviously built a very fast car but so far, I haven’t been able to bring back the results they deserve. It’s not nice to go into this break on a bad note but we’ll focus on the next round and on being the best we can there.”

Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville (2nd)

“It’s a great feeling to take a podium here in Sweden, our first in the new hybrid era. It’s a bit unexpected after what we saw in Rallye Monte-Carlo, but the team has done a good job. My thanks go to everyone at the factory in Germany for pushing hard. We could already see in shakedown that the speed was not too bad, and it was a surprise to be leading the rally on Friday evening. After that, it was a bit more difficult to find the right set-up, but we had enough pace to keep our focus on the podium – and eventually secure second place. We now have one-and-a-half-months to prepare ourselves and the car for Croatia. These weeks will be very important, and there’s a lot of work to be done, but after this result we can look ahead to the upcoming events with more positivity.”

Oliver Solberg (6th)

“The Power Stage was not the perfect end to the rally that we were hoping for. I made a few mistakes, and was a bit careful in other places, so it was not a clean run. Still, I have enjoyed this weekend very much. It has been great to be competing at home in a WRC car for the first time, you really can’t get better than that. The car has been working well all weekend and the team has done an amazing job, so thanks to them. It’s not the result we wanted after some bad luck with the car but that’s how it is. We need to work hard with a big smile on our faces because the speed is there. We just need to improve our performance more to get to the top, but I have no doubt we will get there.”

Ott Tänak (20th)

“There are not really many positives for us to take away from this rally. Overall, it has been a frustrating and disappointing weekend. On the plus side, we showed that we had the pace to be competitive. The downside is that we weren’t able to score many points. We were lucky to take some points away from the Power Stage, but they are few compared to what we should be scoring. I can’t really stress too much about the situation because there’s little I could have done differently from my side. The team has been working hard and the podium for Thierry offers a bit of pay back. I’ve said before that the potential of the car is there, it just needs work to get where we want to be.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
24-27 February 2022
Ott Tanak
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

M-Sport Ford WRT

Gus Greensmith (5th)

“I didn’t have a great start to the weekend, I wasn’t very happy with how Friday went because we lost a lot of time, either through my mistakes or problems with the car, which kind of took us out of the fight a little. At that point then, it was just a bit of a reset and taking it step-by-step, and through some other people’s mistakes and misfortune we picked up some good positions. Two fifths in a row puts us fourth in the championship and a de-facto third, if you take Mr Loeb out of the equation, so I’d say that’s pretty good.”

Craig Breen (36th)

“A relatively disappointing weekend for us in Sweden, after the great result in Monte we were looking to build on it again and get some more good points for the championship. Unfortunately, the error we made on Friday put out any hopes of getting a good result, but nonetheless we improved as the weekend went on; we had a stage win on Saturday which is great, our first stage win in the team.

“We definitely have a lot of things where we can improve for the upcoming events. We’re looking forward to getting our heads down and getting focused on Croatia, which is coming up very soon.”

Adrien Fourmaux (DNF)

“It has been a nice weekend for me to get my confidence back after Monte, and I’ve enjoyed my time on the snow. This was my first snow event in a WRC car, and I can be happy with my pace and gathering that experience. At the end of the first day, we were in 7th position, so I was really happy with that, and unfortunately on Saturday we had to retire before the last stage due to an engine issue.”

Jari Huttunen, WRC2 Driver (9th)

“The first part of the weekend was tricky but today it went well, and I felt I didn’t make as many mistakes. I am happy with the result, getting a podium was our target so it’s good. I think I have some work to do on my driving, and maybe a few things with the car, as we look to get even better results. We still have a lot of work to do, so let’s see.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After Round Two

1 K. Rovanperä 46
2 T. Neuville 32
3 S. Loeb 27
4 G. Greensmith 20
5 S. Ogier 19
6 T. Katsuta 18
7 C. Breen 16
8 E. Lappi 15
9 A. Mikkelsen 12
10 O. Solberg 8
11 O. Tänak 5
2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
24-27 February 2022
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai i20 N Rally 1
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

2022 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After Round Two

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 83
2 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 59
3 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 47
4 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team NG 22


Next up is Rally Croatia at the end of April!

Rally Sweden 2022 Preview – Round Two

Time for the championship to return to Sweden for the first time since 2020! Elfyn and Scott picked up victory for the Toyota team the last time this rally was run and of course this rally was cancelled last year because of the covid situation faced by Sweden last year and we had a replacement event in Finland instead.

Well, back to this year and we have a very interesting situation that the top two crews from M-Sport Ford and Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT that finished first and second are not competing. This means that Kalle and Jonne will be opening the road throughout Friday’s stages in their GR Yaris Rally1.


Let’s take a look at the stages

Rally Sweden begins with its longest day, with Friday’s running consisting of two loops of Kroksjö (14.98km), Kamsjön (27.81km) and Sävar (17.28km) plus a single pass of Umeå Sprint (5.53km), totalling 125.72km

Saturday’s itinerary contains six stages and sees the crews twice tackle Brattby (10.49km), Långed (19.49km) and Umeå (11.17km)

Sunday features two tests each of Vindeln (14.19km) and Sarsjöliden (14.23km). The second pass of the latter will be the rally’s Power Stage.


Now with a number of fast crews further down the championship standings following Rallye Monte Carlo we should be looking to Ott, Elfyn and Thierry to challenge for the podium given their starting positions. Returning to the top cars we see Esapekka Lappi, and if he can get a good start and set some top times, then the Finn can hope to challenge near the top as well.

Craig Breen will also be quick in the Puma Rally1, whilst teammates Gus and Adrien will look to have good pace and see if they can both set some top times and maybe even some stage wins out there!


Let’s hear from the drivers!

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans

“We didn’t start the year how we wanted to on the first rally, but the one small benefit is that our road position should be a bit better for Sweden. We want to capitalise on that as best as we can and, like always, do as well as possible. With everything being so new there have been a lot of different things to try during our testing on snow and ice, but overall, I’m feeling comfortable – although it is always hard to tell exactly how fast you are on this surface because things like traction vary depending on the conditions. We’ve also been looking through the videos of the stages provided by the organiser, and they look very fast in places but also with some very narrow and technical sections.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“Overall, I was really happy with our weekend in Monte Carlo. We started out in a difficult place but we did a lot of work together with the team to improve my feeling in the car. Of course, taking the extra points in the Power Stage means we start first on the road in Sweden and will have some road cleaning to do there on the first day. But we will do our best to take as many points as we can at the end of the weekend and hopefully, we can still have a really good rally. In testing we were starting from zero with the snow setup for the new car and it felt a bit tricky to drive in the beginning, but together with our team-mates I think we have made some good steps in the right direction during the two tests.”

Esapekka Lappi

“I am very excited about this moment. To be competing at the highest level once more is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. It has felt very natural to be working with the team again over the last few weeks and through testing. My feeling in the GR YARIS Rally1 was already quite good from the beginning and it’s been getting better step by step. I think the events I did with a Rally2 car last year are helping me a lot to understand how best to drive these cars. Rally Sweden is an event I have always enjoyed and I have always been competitive there. We need to remember that it’s been five months since my last rally, but I believe we can be on the pace and I want to fight for the podium – that’s my minimum target. It won’t be easy but I feel it’s possible.”

Hyundai Motorsport

2021 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally1 Test, November 2021
Action during Rally1 Test 2021
Photographer: Romain Thuillier
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville

“With the all-new itinerary, it’s very difficult to know what is waiting for us at Rally Sweden, but it will definitely be interesting. While we don’t have a lot of experience with the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 in these conditions – it is a proper full-snow rally –I think our driving style will be pretty similar to the previous cars we’ve competed with at Rally Sweden. Rallying is always a bit more spectacular on snow with the studded tyres. Usually, the stages are quite fast, you have to lean into the snowbanks and drive sideways a bit more. You have to be slightly more brutal to get the studs to grip into the ground. Everybody has worked so hard over the last couple of months and we hope that we will see a good return for that effort next weekend.”

Ott Tänak

“Rally Sweden will be an all-new event as we are moving more north than we have in previous years. I really don’t know what to expect but snow is always something I’ve really enjoyed competing on. Sweden was the location of our first podium with Hyundai Motorsport, and it would mean a lot to be able to replicate that result next weekend. We have the inner drive to come back fighting from our difficult first round of the season; we want to turn that into positive momentum that will carry us throughout the year ahead. Last season we were victorious in the snow in Arctic Rally Finland, so we know we are fast and competitive on this surface. The target will be to hit the ground running and find a good rhythm with the Hyundai i20 N Rally1.”

2022 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
24-27 February 2022
Hyundai i20 N Rally 1
Photographer: Dufour Fabien
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Oliver Solberg

“First of all, it is going to be very emotional to compete in my first home event as a factory driver. It is something I have dreamed about my whole life. I think the new location is an important step, as it is what the rally needs to secure fantastic conditions, even if it is sad to move away from my hometown. Snow and ice is also my favourite surface as well so it will be a very special rally. You have to be quite aggressive with your driving style, keeping the front of the car in the lines but pushing the rear. It will be new for everybody, so preparations are more equal and gives me a good opportunity to have a strong weekend. Rally Sweden will be a mix of everything: fast and twisty roads, wintry conditions, lots of snow banks – and maybe some reindeers.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Craig Breen

“I’m really excited to discover a new rally in Umea. I’ve done the rally many times before in Torsby, but it’ll be completely new this time, and I’m looking forward to having some great conditions. This is the first rally on loose surfaces with the new cars and the Puma hybrid, so hopefully it’ll be good.

“Obviously, we start near the front of the road on the first stage, so that will be something new for me to discover. Being second car on the road will be not the best conditions but honestly, it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. It comes with having a good championship position, so at the end of the day it’s good for that reason.

“I’m hoping for a good event, trying to build more confidence with the car like we did in Monte Carlo, and to see if we can get another strong result; the most important thing is to keep the championship position strong heading into Croatia, so let’s see how it goes.”

Gus Greensmith

“We’re looking forward to Rally Sweden, especially now it’s based up in Umea. From what we’ve seen the stages look really, really fast, some of the fastest I’ve ever seen, so that’s going to be really exciting. Generally, the conditions sound great so we’re looking forward to having big snowbanks to lean on. From my previous experience of testing the Puma last year on loose surfaces, the balance of the car and everything feels great, so we’re excited for this one.”

Adrien Fourmaux

“I’m really happy to come back to Sweden after two years, and it looks like we’ll have nice road conditions for this famous rally. The atmosphere is so special with this being the only event with 100 per cent snow, so it’s always something I look forward to as I enjoy driving on snow. For sure, I want a good result but first of all I want to enjoy it and get some experience on this surface. It’ll be the first time for me on snow in a WRC car, so it will be quite a big step, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Jari Huttunen, WRC2 driver

“I’m very excited to start Rally Sweden, it’s nice to be back with M-Sport for my first rally this year. This is a very unique event with some challenging conditions, but it’s a great opportunity to add to my experience in WRC2.

“We’ve got a new location and some new roads, and it’s also my first time on snow with M-Sport Ford – so let’s see what we can do.”

Mattias Adielsson, WRC2 driver

“It will be a fantastic opportunity and proud moment for me to start our home rally in WRC with M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. I feel very well prepared for the upcoming challenge, and I know I have the material to be at our best in a Fiesta Rally2!

“But I’m also humble and I know the guys in WRC2 are much more experienced drivers then I am; luckily it is our home surface and I think we can put down some really good pace during the rally once we start feeling comfortable.”


We are set then for a great rally! Enjoy it. It’s going to be special and we’ll have a new championship leader at the end.

Rally Sweden 2020 Review – Elfyn and Scott take their first victory together!

Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin scored an impressive and dominant victory in last weekend’s Rally Sweden, and now lead the World Rally Championship for the first time. Here’s the story about it.

The action started on Friday with three stages. The running order was in championship order 1. Neuville 2. Ogier 3. Evans 4. Lappi 5. Rovanperä 6. Suninen 7. Katsuta 8. Tänak 9. Latvala 10. Breen


First up was SS2 Hof-Finnskog 1 – 21.26 km. Elfyn started brilliantly, winning the stage and taking a small one second lead from Ott and Kalle in third.


Into SS3 Finnskogen 1 – 20.68 km and the world champion hit back, winning the stage and reducing Elfyn’s lead to just two tenths of a second. Third quickest again was young Finn Kalle, who was starting very strongly as well. Top M-Sport driver was Esapekka Lappi held fifth overall having passed championship leader Thierry.


Elfyn won SS4 Nyckelvattnet 1 – 18.94 km from Kalle by 2.6 seconds with Seb Ogier third fastest. Kalle’s great pace in this stage lifted him ahead of Ott Tänak and into second place. Elfyn held a 7.9 second lead over his younger teammate, and was a solid 22 seconds ahead of Thierry who was in sixth.


Onto the short SS5 Torsby Sprint 1 – 2.80 km to end the day, and Ott won the stage, thus deposing Kalle back into third place. Elfyn held a good lead over Ott of 8.5 seconds, whilst Seb Ogier was in fourth place 3.5 seconds behind Kalle Rovanperä.


Classification after Day One

1 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC 30:43.7
2 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +8.5
3 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +14.3
4 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC +17.8
5 E. Lappi J. Ferm Ford Fiesta WRC +20.9
6 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +23.6
7 C. Breen P. Nagle Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +24.2
8 T. Suninen J. Lehtinen Ford Fiesta WRC +31.4
9 T. Katsuta D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +49.6


Driver thoughts at the end of Friday.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans (1st)

“It’s been a pretty good day. The feeling in the car was immediately good this morning. It was quite difficult to know exactly how hard to push on the first stage: We had quite high grip, but it looked quite aggressive on the tyres. We tried to be quick but also relatively smooth and it seemed to work out pretty well. Now we need to try and do more of the same tomorrow. Nobody knows what the conditions will be like, so we have to adapt to whatever is put in front of us. I don’t think we’ll need to change much as everything worked very well today, but we’ll look over the data and try to find a few more seconds.”

Kalle Rovanperä (3rd)

“Today was nice. The conditions on the stages were better than everybody expected. There was more ice and snow and the tyres were lasting well. In the morning loop we were doing really well and we had good speed. There were a few mistakes here and there, but we were learning more about the car all the time. The last one didn’t go so well as I stalled the car and we lost a lot of time. So that was not so nice, but hopefully we can gain back the time tomorrow. Let’s will see if there is snowfall tonight, as that would make the conditions quite different.”

2020 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 02 / Swedish Rally / February 13-16, 2020 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier (4th)

“The conditions were not that bad today; I think it was close to normal winter conditions. We could have good fun in some sections with good grip. It’s not been a bad day for us, but our team-mates have proven that we can go faster. It was not easy to start second on the road today, but that’s not the only reason why we have been slower. We need to be a little bit more committed in some places and maybe accept to take a bit more risk. The long-game is always important but we want to leave this event with as many points as possible. We’re going to try to make some little changes on the car for tomorrow and try to improve our pace if we can.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak (2nd)

“It’s been a good day. Conditions have been quite similar to the recce so we had an idea of what we would face. The start was not so bad. The first stage, especially on the gravel, was actually quite good. I felt nice in the car, it was in the icy places where I was not so confident. The final stage of the morning was a bit more demanding. With only one day of testing in the car, I was not really full of confidence but it’s coming step by step. I am happy to have made it to the end of this first day; we will now analyse all that we’ve learned from today and aim to speed up a bit tomorrow.”

Thierry Neuville (6th)

“It has been tricky to be first on the road today, but we’ve had a trouble-free run with no mistakes. I’m not happy with the overall classification but I am satisfied with what we’ve done in the car and with the speed. We couldn’t do much more. The first stage was quite consistent but the following two we knew would be trickier. This morning, the layer of ice was very thin in places and the gravel was coming out, which gives more grip to the cars behind. There were also a lot of cuts, where I was the first to discover. This rally is so short, it won’t be possible to catch up a lot of time, but we will fight hard and see what we can achieve tomorrow.”

2020 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
13-16 February 2020
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Helena El Mokni
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Craig Breen (8th)

“It is great to be back in a WRC car; it’s been a while since Wales Rally GB. This is a different Rally Sweden to what we’ve seen in previous years, a much shorter event and missing a lot of the kilometres we should have been doing. As the day went on, I started to get more confidence. It’s always going to take a stage or two to get settled back in; fighting against guys who are in the car all the time, it’s hard to be flat out from the start. I really enjoyed it and I felt we were getting stronger with each kilometre. Tomorrow, it could be difficult to make much of a difference, but we’ll certainly try.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Esapekka Lappi (5th)

“It’s been quite a consistent day for us. We can’t match the guys at the front which is a bit frustrating, but we are best of the rest and I’m happy with that. I’m really trying and was twice in the ditch already – losing a couple of seconds with that – but I feel that we can still improve. If we can make some small changes to the set-up then I think the pace can be better and tomorrow is a new day so for sure it’s not over yet. We’ll keep trying and keep pushing until the end.”

Teemu Suninen (7th)

“The conditions have been quite challenging today with a lot of gravel making it tricky to judge the grip. We didn’t have the pace we wanted in the fast sections and that’s something we know we need to work on. But the pace was a lot better in the slower sections and we’ll keep pushing tomorrow.”

Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen at speed. Photo credit, M-Sport WRT


This day action featured 68km’s over just four stages. The running order for day two was in reverse order – 1. Katsuta 2. Suninen 3. Breen 4. Neuville 5. Lappi 6. Ogier 7. Rovanperä 8. Tänak 9. Evans


Elfyn started the day well, winning SS6 Hof-Finnskog 2 – 21.26 km, with Ott Tänak once more second fastest and Seb setting the third best time. Kalle Rovanperä could only manage fifth fastest and the gap between him and shrinking to just one tenth of a second. Thierry was doing the best he could, given that he was opening the road, but was the best part of half a minute from the leader.

The great drive from the Welsh wizard continued into SS7 Finnskogen 2 – 20.68 km, which he also won, going 3.6 seconds faster than Ott once more and now the lead was a massive 15.3 seconds. Ogier also moved up the leaderboard, passing Kalle for third position after the Finn could only manage the seventh fastest time. The top M-Sport driver continued to be Esapekka Lappi, who was holding onto fifth position.


Well, Elfyn continued his dominance winning SS8 Nyckelvattnet 2 – 18.94 km as well, from Kalle Rovanperä, who’s great time moved him back ahead of Seb Ogier into third. Ott Tänak was now almost 17 seconds behind his former M-Sport teammate. The gap that Thierry had been reducing to Esapekka, now grew larger again, in their battle over fifth position, with the Belgian now over four seconds behind.


Just the short SS9 Torsby Sprint 2 – 2.80 km stage to round out the day and the top three were Thierry, Seb and Esapekka. Rally leader, Elfyn, was fourth quickest, and ahead of Ott as well giving him a 17.2 second lead over his closest challenger and the world champion.


Classification after Day Two

1 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC 1:00:38.9
2 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +17.2
3 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC +28.8
4 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +29.3
5 E. Lappi J. Ferm Ford Fiesta WRC +34.7
6 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +39.2
7 C. Breen P. Nagle Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +49.7
8 T. Suninen J. Lehtinen Ford Fiesta WRC +1:14.8
9 T. Katsuta D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +1:37.4


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans (1st)

“It has been another good day for us and we can be happy with what we’ve managed to do. I had a really good feeling in the car, I’ve been happy with the balance and the confidence it’s giving me. The first two stages this morning were really good. The third one was quite tricky, a bit softer with more loose ice and snow, and the last stage was quite rough but we got through it OK. Let’s see what we face tomorrow, as the conditions are a bit of an unknown. It could be very difficult with the warmer temperatures we have now, but hopefully we can find the same rhythm we have in the last two days. It’s a long stage and we just need to keep our head down and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Sébastien Ogier (3rd)

“It’s not been a bad day. We set some good times this morning. The third stage was not the best for me, but other than that I think we’ve done a good day. I’ve felt pretty good in the car. We’ve been playing around a bit with the setup and we’re learning with every kilometre. The Power Stage is obviously going to be important tomorrow. It’s still very tight with Kalle, and also the others guys are not far behind, so we cannot relax. We will have to push to the end, and the conditions could be quite tricky.”

Kalle Rovanperä (4th)

“This morning I had a good feeling but I was a bit too hard on the tyres and not managing them well, so we were losing time at the end of the stages as we were losing the studs. But we made some small setup changes on the car so that it was not understeering and not loading the front tyres so much, and then the third stage went well. The last stage was in a really rough condition and these were new conditions for me. It’s going to be really difficult for us tomorrow as we don’t have the same experience on this stage as the others, but I will try my best.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak (2nd)

“I can’t really say we’re happy, but we have been steadily making progress and getting valuable experience in the car. We’re still missing some feeling and confidence but that’s down to my lack of seat time. There are still a lot of things that are a bit fresh and some things to learn. We’re taking it step-by-step, improving all the time and understanding what we need to do to be on the pace. We’re not far off but it’s not as enjoyable to see such a gap. It has been a solid start for a short event, and I am sure the speed is there for the future; we just need to work on it.”

2020 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
13-16 February 2020
Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Helena El Mokni
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Thierry Neuville (6th)

“Performance-wise, I am quite satisfied with how things have gone; we have tried to do the best we could and optimise the situation we’re in. At the same time, we’ve had to be clever and avoid making silly mistakes. So far, it’s all fine but it’s also disappointing and frustrating not to be in the position we’d want to be. It’s a very short rally, so it is difficult to catch up lost time solely through driving. We are going to try and maintain our rhythm into tomorrow’s final stage and see what we can pick up for the championship.”

Craig Breen (7th)

“I’d summarise by saying the day has been sometimes good, sometimes bad. Obviously, it’s taking me a bit of time to get going. Again, on this morning’s opening stage, I don’t know why but I dropped too much time. The two other stages of the loop were really nice and I enjoyed myself. Compared to the people around us, we were quite competitive, but obviously there was a lot of cleaning, especially on the third one (SS7) with lots of fresh snow overnight. Thierry was running just behind us and we have been able to match his pace in some stages; we have to be happy with that. In a rally as specific like this you really have to be at one with everything. All things considered; I think we’re still doing a good job.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Esapekka Lappi (5th)

“It’s been a very positive day. We made some changes to improve the set-up overnight and I was really pleased with the driving. This was a good step forward, and it’s something that we can use in the future too. I’m learning all the time the little things and small details that affect the feeling and allow you to push more. We’re still not quite up there with the top times, but we’re getting closer and closer. We just have the one stage tomorrow but nothing is over yet. With 4.5 seconds behind and 5.4 seconds ahead it will be a big push to the end for everyone!”

Teemu Suninen (8th)

“We didn’t have the best road position today, but like yesterday we’re still struggling to find the top pace. The first two stages weren’t too bad, but then in the third one I had a few big slides and took it carefully after that. Tomorrow we just have the Power Stage, so let’s see what the conditions are like and see what we can do in there.”



Just one stage left then, after the first run of Likenäs was cancelled, giving us just the single run with counted as the power stage. Coming into the final day, Elfyn and Scott had a 17 second lead over Ott Tänak.


It was a first stage victory for the young Kalle Rovanperä in SS11 Likenäs 2 – 21.19 km who was almost four seconds faster than Thierry Neuville, with Seb Ogier third, Ott Tänak in fourth, Esapekka Lappi in fifth. Rally leader Elfyn Evans come through to finish the stage in sixth place, but crucially took a very special victory in his second event for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT. It was the first for an all British crew as well.

It was a dominant drive from them both. They won by over twelve seconds from Ott Tänak and Kalle Rovanperä took a very impressive first podium, passing Seb Ogier in the final stage.


Final Overall Standings

1 E. Evans S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC 1:11:43.1
2 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +12.7
3 K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +20.2
4 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC +23.6
5 E. Lappi J. Ferm Ford Fiesta WRC +32.4
6 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +33.8
7 C. Breen P. Nagle Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:00.9
8 T. Suninen J. Lehtinen Ford Fiesta WRC +1:24.5
9 T. Katsuta D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +1:59.6
10 J. Huttunen M. Lukka Hyundai i20 R5 +4:03.0


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Elfyn Evans (1st)

“I feel really good to have my first win with Toyota Gazoo Racing in our second event together. I have to give a lot of credit to the team for not only giving me a great car but also giving me the support and help in testing for me to get the car to where I wanted it. The car is giving me great confidence, and in changeable conditions like we’ve had here, that’s really worth a lot. It has been very enjoyable to drive so far and hopefully we can carry this feeling onto gravel in the events to come. A big thanks to Scott too: he’s been very good since he’s been alongside me and I’m very happy to finally be with him for his first win too.”

2020 FIA World Rally Championship / Round 02 / Swedish Rally / February 13-16, 2020 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Kalle Rovanperä (3rd)

“I feel really good to be on the podium. It was a really demanding rally because it was shorter than usual and all the time you had to be flat-out. We were losing some time because of my mistakes but it was nice to get back on the podium today and also, to have five points from the Power Stage. It was a really good run, I gave it everything I have. It didn’t feel so good in the beginning because I was maybe a bit more careful and saving the tyres, but it paid off in the end as we were doing really fast split times and the final time was really good.”

Sébastien Ogier (4th)

“I cannot be unhappy about this weekend. I don’t really enjoy being fourth but it’s still some good points for the championship and it puts us in a good position ahead of Mexico. Kalle deserves this podium. He did a really great job the whole weekend, and he went for it in the Power Stage and he did a brilliant time. It was very difficult conditions, and when you’re thinking about the championship, it was hard to really go for it. Elfyn was driving fantastic this weekend and it’s a nice win for him and for the team. It’s always better to have these strong guys in your team rather than in the opposition: I think Toyota has a very strong line-up for this season. For us now we focus on the next one, where we will try to fight for the win.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Ott Tänak (2nd)

“I am pleased to take my first podium with the team, particularly considering the challenging conditions we’ve all experienced this weekend. There are certainly positives to take away. The car has shown it has the speed; we just need to learn more about it. After Monte-Carlo, it was important for us to complete the full event, to get some kilometres in the car, and to get some points on the board. We weren’t able to compete at the sharp end, but we are making good progress, improving all the time and finding more confidence in the car. Looking at things from that perspective, it has been a useful weekend.”

Thierry Neuville (6th)

“We had only one target today, which was to try and optimise the situation and push for points in the Power Stage. It wasn’t quite enough to set the fastest time, and the conditions were incredibly tricky, just like they have been the entire weekend. It has been a tough rally, but we couldn’t have done much more. There were a few stages where we lost a few seconds here or there; I don’t think it would have changed the end result.”

Craig Breen (7th)

“It has been a difficult weekend and, personally, I am not happy with my result. I have enjoyed being back in a WRC car immensely, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hard not to be up there fighting for podiums and wins. The weather and road order have been against us and it’s a pity we’ve had short loops. That’s made it hard to make much of an impression. Today we’ve seen completely different conditions again, with a lot of standing water, so there were no heroics; the priority was to bring the car home, which we did, and to support the team as best we could.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Esapekka Lappi (5th)

“I need to be pleased with our performance this weekend. We’re not exactly where I wanted to be as I wanted to fight for the podium, but we’re not far away. We’re missing that last little bit, but it’s getting closer. We’ve made a good step forward – especially yesterday when the pace was really good – and that gives us some confidence going forward to Mexico. Everything is going well at the moment, so let’s see what we can do next.”

Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm secured a good result, but they will want more. Photo credit, M-Sport WRT

Teemu Suninen (8th)

“This hasn’t been a good rally for us. It all started with a big moment on Shakedown and then on Friday I was just taking it a bit too carefully in places. We lost a few seconds there and just couldn’t get the time back. Then on Saturday we had to open the road and that made it even more difficult. Now we just need to analyse this rally and look forward to being better on the next one.”



Well, that was a special weekend for Elfyn and Scott. Their first win together after coming so close last year in Corsica. It was a very dominant win as well, given that they never lost the lead at any point and always increased the lead that they had. It’s also given them the championship lead for the first time in their careers.

Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja came back from a very big accident to show exactly why they are the world champions. Getting used to their new car and delivering top pace with two stage wins and a well-deserved second place.

Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen scored a very impressive third place after taking their first stage win in their second event. It was a very good drive from the young Finn’s. It won’t be the first time that we see them on the podium this year.

Next event is Rally Mexico, from the 12th to the 15th of March.


Elfyn and Scott celebrate an incredible result, one that was well over due. Photo credit, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT


2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 2

1 E. Evans 42
2 T. Neuville 42
3 S. Ogier 37
4 K. Rovanperä 30
5 E. Lappi 24
6 O. Tänak 20
7 T. Suninen 11
8 S. Loeb 8
9 T. Katsuta 8
10 C. Breen 6


2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 2

1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 73
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 63
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 40
Photo credit, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Rally Sweden 2020 Preview

Just a few day’s ago this event was looking like it wouldn’t happen. I’m sure that you’ll be aware of the lack of snow this year in Sweden. Anyway, the organisers and the FIA came to an agreement to run a much shorter event. Here’s the full stage information. The sixty-eighth Rally Sweden is happening!

Stages & times

Thursday   February 13
09:01 Shakedown Skalla 7,21 km Stage info
12:30 Meet the crews, Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
20:08 SS 1 Karlstad SSS 1 1,9 km Arena – Full programme Stage info
Friday   February 14
06:47 Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
08:42 SS 2 Hof-Finnskog 1 21,26 Stage info
10:08 SS 3 Finnskogen 1 20,68 km Stage info
11:08 SS 4 Nyckelvattnet 1 18,94 Stage info
15:00 SS 8 Torsby Sprint 1 2,8 km Arena – Full programme Stage info
15:32 Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
Saturday   February 15
06:47 Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
08:42 SS 5 Hof-Finnskog 2 21,26 km Stage info
10:08 SS 6 Finnskogen 2 20,68 Stage info
11:08 SS 7 Nyckelvattnet 2 18,94 Stage info
15:00 SS 16 Torsby Sprint 2 2,8 km Arena – Full programme Stage info
15:32 Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
Sunday   February 16
08:46 Torsby Service Park Arena – Full programme
10:08 SS 17 Likenäs 1 21,19 km Stage info
10:48 Regroup Ambjörby
12:18 SS 18 Likenäs 2 Wolf Power Stage 21,19 km Stage info


As you can see the stages have kept their original stage numbers, giving us an idea as to how many stages have been lost.



Last year Ott Tanak took victory for Toyota with six stage victories, with Esapekka Lappi finishing second and 2018 winner Thierry in third. Can M-Sport challenge at the front like last year? Teemu Suninen led early on, and with a double Finn lineup, perhaps we will see a three-way battle at the front between the them all? Elfyn went well, taking two good stage wins, his first in Sweden, and given his performance in Rallye Monte Carlo, we can expect more of the same this year too. Returning to the championship is Craig Breen who scored a brilliant second overall in 2018 when driving for Citroen. He replaces Seb Loeb.

FIA World Rally Championship 2019 / Round 02 / Rally Sweden / February 14-17th, 2019 // Worldwide Copyright: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC

Let’s hear from the drivers.

Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville

“An ideal Rally Sweden would have lots of snow, huge snowbanks, very icy roads, the perfect conditions for us to go fast with full confidence to get the most out of the car. When the road is properly frozen, the studs get good grip and you can go flat out. Obviously, if there will be less snow than previous years it could be quite tough to do the stages. Our tyres are very thin and very high, so they won’t work the same on gravel stages and it’s going to be really tricky. Without the snowbanks, the rally gets faster and faster, and less interesting, so we keep our fingers crossed for a lot of snow to arrive.”

2018 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, Rally Sweden
15-18 February 2018
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Photographer: Austral
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Ott Tänak

“Since Monte, I have been feeling better every day. We learned a very good lesson, and we know now that each time we have to drive a new section, we really need to focus more than ever before. Driving in Sweden is always very special, particularly when we get some frozen, icy conditions. The grip from the spiked tyres is extremely high and gives a great feeling. It will be important for us to get back some points and to improve step-by-step. It will be our first time on loose surface with Hyundai, but I hope we can deliver a good result.”

Craig Breen

“I am very humbled to have the chance of getting behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC again. It’s been a long time since Wales Rally GB, so I’m excited and anxious. From the first moment I drove the car, I felt a lot of confidence and that I could drive my own natural way. Sweden is a rally I enjoy; I scored my best-ever result in the World Championship there a few years ago. Hopefully the conditions will be favourable for us and the cold will arrive in the region for us to have ‘proper’ roads. Regardless, when I am back in my happy place driving a WRC car, I will have a nice weekend.”


Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier

“I definitely love Rally Sweden. It’s a magic event, the only one on full snow on the calendar, and driving on those roads is very special. I certainly hope to be performing well there again this year. I’ve had some good times there in the past, but it has been a bit more of a struggle in the last few years – I guess partly because of my start position, as coming to Sweden while leading the championship has been very challenging. This year will be slightly different so let’s see what we can do. Rallye Monte-Carlo was a very positive start for the whole team, and they have been performing very well in Sweden, so hopefully we are able to do the same this time.”

Elfyn Evans

“I’m really looking forward to Rally Sweden. The car was feeling really good in our winter testing on snow, so I’m hoping for another good event there. Rallye Monte-Carlo was overall a positive start for us in the Toyota Yaris WRC, even though our result could have been even better. Road position can play a big part in Sweden, depending on what sort of conditions we’ll find: if there’s a lot of loose snow, then there is a big advantage for those starting further back. But like any other rally, we’ll go in and do the best we can from the first stage.”

Kalle Rovanperä

“I enjoy snow rallies a lot, so Rally Sweden should be a nice event for us. I think it should be easier for me than Rallye Monte-Carlo, but we will also need to push more to the limits there. Driving the Yaris WRC has been a lot of fun so far, and on snow it has been an amazing car to drive. We did the Arctic Rally in January in the Yaris and that was good preparation for us, but the conditions in Sweden could be tricky because there has been not so much snow, so we will have to see just how helpful it really was.”


M-Sport Ford WRT

Esapekka Lappi

“I’ve had some good results at Rally Sweden – especially last year when we finished second on our second event with a new car so let’s see if we can do the same again this year! Of course, the competition will be strong and no one really knows what the conditions will be like, but we will give it our best.

“We’re testing this weekend when we’ll get our first indication of what to expect. The Swedish stages are always fast, which I enjoy, but there could only be a small layer of ice which will make tyre management pretty important when it comes to retaining the studs for the whole loop. Fourth on the road could be a decent position, but let’s wait and see.”

Teemu Suninen

“Last year we found a good set-up for the soft snow and rutted conditions, and it worked really well for us – leading after the first full day and showing good speed throughout the weekend. This year the plan is to show that same speed consistently and without mistakes.

“Of course, a lot will depend on the weather. It’s great that the organisers have been able to make the rally happen, but we will have to wait and see what the conditions are like. I’m hoping for snow, and we’ll have a test this weekend to prepare. Whatever the weather, we will give it our best and I hope to be in a good battle.”

The R5 class

Also competing this weekend are Adrien Fourmaux and Rhys Yates, at the wheel of two Fiesta R5 Mk2’s and Ole Christian Veiby and Nikolay Gryazin who will compete in i20 R5’s.

Adrien Fourmaux

“It’s really nice to hear that the organisers have found a way for us to go rallying and we can say a big thanks to the Rally Sweden team for that. This is the only full-snow rally on the calendar, and that makes it really special. Driving in the forests with the white landscape and hundreds of fans makes it a beautiful rally, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there this year.

“I competed in Sweden last year, but this will be my first time with the Fiesta R5 which makes it a completely new experience for me with more speed and totally different lines. The biggest challenge will be in trusting the grip and speed through the corners and learning how to fight on the same level as the locals – but I can’t wait to get started. I plan to enjoy every second, and if I can deliver a smart rally and leave with good points, good stage times and a good experience I’ll be very happy.”

Rhys Yates

“We’ve got a really good feeling with the car at the moment and I’ve never felt more comfortable on gravel than I did with the Fiesta at the Cambrian last weekend. The pace was pretty quick at times – as it will be this week in Sweden – so you’ve got to be comfortable with the car moving about underneath you. You’ve got to be comfortable with it going sideways in fifth gear. I got that feeling in Wales and that’s great for me.

“I want to hit the ground running in Sweden. We’ve got a test on Tuesday and then the rally starts Thursday. One thing I’m so chuffed with is how much time I’m getting in the car. By the time Sweden starts I’ll have been in this Fiesta four times in a week – I’ve never had that much seat time before and that can only be good for the confidence!

Ole Christian Veiby

“Rally Sweden is one of the highlights of the season. It’s very much a home rally, one of the stages even goes through our family forest. I was watching there since I was a little kid, so it means a lot. There are lots of supporters, friends and family; to see so many Norwegian flags is really special. To drive on proper snow conditions is, I think, one of the best things to do. The grip level can even sometimes be better than gravel, especially with studded tyres. The target for the rally is for sure a victory. We were a bit disappointed about Monte-Carlo; I think the car worked really well so hopefully it will also do that in Sweden. I’m looking forward to it!”

Nikolay Gryazin

“Sweden for us means quite a lot because it’s winter. Back in my country, we drive in the cold a lot. We had a valuable experience in Monte-Carlo, adapting to a new car in tricky conditions. I feel more confident now and I hope the result reflects that. This will be my second time in Rally Sweden. It will be difficult to compete against the local crews, but I am determined to secure a good result and to see how the Hyundai i20 R5 performs. It has definitely shown good pace in all conditions so I hope we will have a positive weekend – whatever the conditions.”


We are set as ever for an incredible rally then, and despite the changes to the schedule, including the loss of the stage that includes Colins Crest, it’s almost certain to be a fascinating event. Don’t miss it!

Rally Sweden 2018 Preview!

Its time for Round Two! The WRC heads for the amazing snow-covered roads of Sweden, one of the fastest rallies of the year! Helping the drivers keep a grip will be the special tyres that Michelin bring.


Two centimetres narrower that their gravel equivalent, and a full five centimetres narrower than the tarmac version, Michelin’s “Sweden” tyre mainly stands out due to the 384 studs glued into drilled holes on the tyre tread. The studs provide such a high level of grip that at equivalent speeds, the braking distances are the same as on dry tarmac! The challenge in Sweden therefore consists of taking great care of these twenty-millimetre-long spikes, which protrude around seven millimetres from the tread blocks. The Scandinavian rally is also one of the few events where taking two spare wheels, especially on the second pass when gravel begins to appear and lines form, actually helps performance. The challenge is to switch tyres at the right moment, so that the studs wear out evenly, and avoid having an uneven tyre set-up.


This year there are 19 stages and a total of 314,25 competitive km’s.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Sweden (SWE) – WRC 09/02/2017 to 12/02/2017 – PHOTO : @World


Here’s the full details of the stages!



8.00am: shakedown (Skalla)

8.04pm: Start day 1 (Karlstad)

8.08pm: SS 1 – Karlstad (1,90 km)

9.54pm: End of day 1



6.00am: Start day 2 and Service A (Torsby – 15 mins)

7.55am: SS 2 – Hof-Finnskog 1 (21,26 km)

9.07am: SS 3 – Svullrya 1 (24,88 km)

9.54am: SS 4 – Röjden 1 (19,13 km)

11.31am: Service B (Torsby – 30 mins)

1.41pm: SS 5 – Hof-Finnskog 2 (21,26 km)

3.03pm: SS 6 – Svullrya 2 (24,88 km)

3.50pm: SS 7 – Röjden 2 (19,13 km)

4.56pm: SS 8 – Torsby 1 (9,56 km)

5.31pm: Flexi Service C (Torsby – 45 mins)



7.05am: Start day 3 and Service D (Torsby – 15 mins)

7.54am: SS 9 – Torntorp 1 (19,88 km)

9.12am: SS 10 – Hagfors 1 (23,40 km)

10.08am: SS 11 – Vargasen 1 (14,21 km)

11.40am: Service E (Torsby – 30 mins)

12.44pm: SS 12 – Torntorp 2 (19,88 km)

2.12pm: SS 13 – Hagfors 2 (23,40 km)

3.08pm: SS 14 – Vargasen 2 (14,21 km)

5.45pm: SS 15 – Karlstad 2 (1,90 km)

7.26pm: SS 16 – Torsby Sprint (3,43 km)

7.56pm: Flexi Service F (Torsby – 45 mins)



6.30am: Start day 4 and Service G (Torsby – 15 mins)

7.50am: SS 17 – Likenäs 1 (21,19 km)

9.51am: SS 18 – Likenäs 2 (21,19 km)

12.18pm: SS 19 – Torsby 2 (9,56 km)


1.00pm: Podium (Torsby)



Here’s the views of all the teams then!

M-Sport Ford

Sébastien Ogier

“It looks as though we are in for a true winter rally next week with everything needed for a classic Rally Sweden. Reports from the region suggest that there’s a good ice base and high snow banks which is everything a driver wants to hear ahead of this event.

“In those conditions, we can reach incredible speeds and lean the cars on the snow banks to help guide us through the corners. It’s an amazing feeling, but it’s not without its challenges.

“There’s certainly an art to driving on snow and you need to be precise. You have to judge the strength of the snow banks perfectly and – with more snow than previous years – there could be a lot of work to do on the Pacenotes.

“As the first car on the road, we’ll also have to wait and see what the conditions are like and we’re certainly not hoping to see any fresh snow on Friday.

“We got the season off to a great start last month, but we all know how strong the competition is and we’re expecting it to be even stronger next week. The Scandinavians are always strong here, but we plan to give them a hard time and secure another strong haul of points for our championship defence.”

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Sweden (SWE) – WRC 09/02/2017 to 12/02/2017 – PHOTO : @World

Elfyn Evans

“Rally Sweden is an event that everyone looks forward to. On a classic Rally Sweden – like what we’re expecting this year – we can reach incredible speeds and if you get it right it’s easily one of the most enjoyable rallies on the calendar.

“The feeling on snow isn’t a million miles away from driving on gravel, but there are certain techniques that we’ll need to adapt and it can take a bit of getting used to at first.

“Vision can often be a challenge – particularly if there is a lot of fresh snow making it difficult to read the road ahead. Our Pacenotes and recce are going to have to be spot on, but we’re ready for it and really looking forward to it.

“There’s something of a score to settle after Monte where we were capable of achieving more than we did, so let’s see what we can do in Sweden.”


Teemu Suninen

“We’ve just completed some good test kilometres in Northern Sweden which went really well. I’ve not driven the Fiesta WRC since last year’s Rally Finland, so that gave us a chance to get familiar with the car and we’re now feeling well prepared for the start of the rally.

“It would be amazing to challenge for a podium again. Perhaps that is a realistic goal, but we would have to deliver the perfect rally to achieve it. With eight events this year, we also have to consider a slightly different approach. In 2017, we were solely focused on our future and showing what we could do, but this time we also have to think about the team and scoring points for the manufacturers’ championship.

“In terms of the weather, there have been talks of freezing temperatures and high snow banks but we’ll have to wait for the recce before we can see for ourselves. Whatever the conditions, the speed is always high. On a rally as fast as this the seconds are harder to gain, and we will have to be on the pace from the very first stage.”


Citroen Abu Dhabi WRT

Kris Meeke

“It looks like we going to get perfect winter conditions this year and like all the WRC drivers, I can’t wait to get started! In the last few seasons, with a limited amount of snow, you had to be very cautious or risk getting stuck in a snow bank after the slightest impact. The snow banks seem to be bigger and more compact this time around, so we’ll undoubtedly be able to drive more aggressively and use the banks more, although we may need a bit of time to get used to that. In any event, it’s an exciting challenge that I’m going to try and tackle with the same sensible approach as in Monte-Carlo.”

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, Rally Sweden 2017. Photo Credit, Citroen

Craig Breen

“Between the start and end of last season, the C3 WRC made a lot of progress on gravel, so I hope it’ll be the same on snow and ice. Especially as Sweden is one of my favourite rallies, and one where I feel really confident. In fact, I had my very first race in a WRC here in 2014 and also made my maiden appearance in Sweden with Citroën Racing in 2016. After a difficult Monte, I’d love to get decent points on the board. And it looks like the road conditions will be perfect for this year’s rally, with really solid snow banks that are forgiving if you make a relatively minor mistake.”


Mads Ostberg

“Rally Sweden is a special event for me and I have always been quick here, so I’m very happy to have this opportunity to rejoin the team. I’m hoping to make the most of the shakedown at Satory and then the day of pre-event testing to adapt quickly to the C3 WRC. In any case, I’m already up to speed in these conditions, having contested two winter rallies in Norway, the second of which I won. With the bigger snow banks this year, the roads are likely to be narrower and more technically demanding, so perhaps we Scandinavians may be able to take advantage of our greater experience in conditions like these.”


Toyota Gazoo WRT

Jari-Matti Latvala

“Sweden is one of my favourite rallies and actually the place where I took my first WRC victory 10 years ago – although it really doesn’t feel like so long ago! Compared to last year I think we have a better car: we concentrated on improving it on the slower and more technical sections during our test, and we definitely made a step forward in this area. Having said that, the competition is even tougher this year: within our own team as well. It’s going to be a really nice challenge in proper winter conditions and that of course helps me raise my own game; I’m confident we can fight for the win again. This weekend I’m also taking part in a local rally on snow in Finland with Juho Hänninen in my historic Toyota Celica, so this will be a lot of fun and the perfect way to prepare.”

Last years winners for Toyota Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Antilla tackle Colins Crest. Photo Credit, Toyota Gazoo WRT


Ott Tänak

“I’m still learning about the Yaris WRC, but after driving it on snow during the test I’m beginning to understand why Jari-Matti won in Sweden last year. For the first part of the rally we’ll just have to see how everything goes, but of course I’m hoping that we can fight for the podium and even the win. If the snow is heavy on the stages, which seems to be the case, our start position of second on the road won’t be ideal, but of course the weather can change. I’m just going to enjoy the weekend and do my best. There’s a lot more still to come.”

Esapekka Lappi

“It took me a few days to get over the disappointment of losing fourth place in Monte-Carlo on the last stage, but in the end, there were more positives than negatives. Up to that point, we had driven a very consistent rally, and my aim is to do the same in Sweden. We had a good test and did around 400 kilometres in two days, which was enough for me to get a good feel. Our car should be well-suited to Sweden but it’s a very different type of rally to Monte-Carlo: in Monte, sometimes you have to be brave by going slow enough, whereas in Sweden you need a different type of commitment. I didn’t compete on the rally last year, so I am missing a bit of experience, but snow is a surface I always feel comfortable on.”


Hyundai Motorsport

Andreas Mikkelsen

“Rally Sweden is a very special event for me because of the opportunity we have to go rallying across the border into my home country of Norway. We have a lot of support from fans, family and friends. It’s a beautiful event and the only one we get to tackle completely on snow and ice with proper studded tyres. They give amazing grip and the feeling is unbelievable. We expect a good number of snow banks this year, so we will be able to explore the limits.”

Thierry Neuville

“We had good speed on the Swedish and Norwegian stages last year but unfortunately things didn’t end well when we were forced to retire on the penultimate day. This year, I am aiming to challenge once again for the win but with a far better outcome. Sweden is truly a unique event; the only one where we can compete with fully studded tyres for the complete rally. As one of the fastest rallies of the season, it’s an exhilarating one from inside the cockpit and for the fans lining the stages. We want to put on a good show and, most importantly, deliver a good result.”

Hayden Paddon

“I can’t wait to get my 2018 season underway finally. It feels like a long time since we were competing in Australia.  Sweden will be a fresh start for us. I have good memories from finishing on the podium two years ago, and I will be trying to repeat some of that performance. It was great to get re-acquainted with the car in testing recently. We were able to enjoy some outstanding winter driving conditions. More of that in the rally, as well as a decent result, would be the perfect start to my season.”

2017 FIA World Rally Championship
Round 02, WRC, Sweden
06-12 February 2017
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Day 1
Photographer: Helena El Mokni
Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH


Now, there are lots of spectacular stages in this event, none more so than Vargasen, which features Colins Crest! Lots of fans base themselves there, just to see these amazing cars fly through the air and last year, Mads got the biggest jump of the event.

This year looks to be just as amazing! There has been a lot of snow, which means the snow banks are of very good quality!

We’ve got the returning Hayden and Mads, plus a good battle between Ott and Seb. What chance we have seeing a different driver leading the championship on Sunday afternoon?



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