Although Rally Sweden is typically snowy, its 2016 edition proved that nothing is guaranteed. Hyundai Motorsport had to abort plans for a pre-event test in December due to conditions but enjoyed near perfect weather in a post-Monte test with Thierry Neuville. After a pause due to a lack of snow, testing resumed this week with Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo on driving duties with the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for one day each.
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented:
“Rally Sweden will offer us a very different test to Monte Carlo, which is something of a one-off. It’s always been a good rally for us, so I hope we continue this trend. Monte showed us that our car is running competitively and, generally, reliably. We had a small power steering issue in the opening rally but we are on top of that now. We didn’t really get the result we wanted in the first rally, but we saw the potential in our car from Thierry’s performances and our seven stage wins. In fact, all the cars seem very close in terms of outright performance so it promises to be a fierce battle in each round of the Championship.”
“Snow conditions have been changeable recently, which has resulted in as slightly disjointed test schedule. We are all hoping for plenty of the white stuff – and another classic Rally Sweden”, Michel Nandan added.
On a typical Rally Sweden the set-up of the car has to be transformed to cope with the lower temperatures and snowy terrain. These are the hallmarks of any classic Swedish rally.
Aerodynamics can be affected with crews using the snow banks to guide the car. Extra spare parts are brought to the event, as the aero parts cannot be reinforced due to homologation restrictions. The front of the car is also susceptible to picking up snow and ice. Thus air filters need added protection.
Specific studded Michelin tyres will be used. That also requires the car’s differential to be set-up accordingly. The added engine power on the 2017 WRC cars could cause tyre studs to loosen.That is another consideration. A good suspension is needed to tackle the big jumps, including the famous Colin’s Crest in the Vargåsen stage.