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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Rnd 2 - WRC Sweden Feb 12-15

Official Site:

Listen Live:

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights


First run in 1950 when it was called the Rally to the Midnight Sun as it was held in summer. It became a winter event in 1965.
It featured in the inaugural championship in 1973 and has been dominated by Scandinavians, who won every year until 2004 when Sebastien Loeb broke the mould. Sebastien Ogier is the only other ‘outsider’ to win.
Stig Blomqvist and Marcus Gr?nholm top the roll of honour with five wins each.

What’s new for 2015

While Friday’s territory will be familiar to drivers, about 20 per cent of the icy action will be new compared to last year.
The rally returns to its traditional Thursday to Sunday schedule after moving forward 24 hours in 2014 due to a clash with the Winter Olympic Games.


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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sebastien Ogier edged out Robert Kubica and Mads Ostberg to set fastest time in shakedown at Rally Sweden this morning (Thursday).

The Volkswagen Polo R pilot went quickest on his fourth and final pass through the 3.99km Rada stage, near the rally’s Hagfors service park, to pip Kubica’s Ford Fiesta RS and Ostberg’s DS3 by two-tenths of a second.

Conditions improved with the passage of every car as rising temperatures melted the snow and ice, allowing the spiked tyres to bite into the gravel beneath and generate better grip.

“It was crazy. We calculated the stage was getting quicker by almost a tenth of a second per kilometre with every car,” said the Frenchman.

Both Kubica and Ostberg had earlier set the pace, both drivers completing seven runs through the stage.

Kris Meeke was fourth in Citroen’s other DS 3, a further 0.1sec behind, with the Polo R duo of Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top six.

Yuriy Protasov was seventh, having returned to an M-Sport Fiesta RS after tackling last month's Rallye Monte-Carlo in a DS3 run by the Italian D-Max Racing squad.



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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

SS2 / SS3: Ogier sets pace in Sweden

After the debate about thawing snow and the best position in the start order, Sebastien Ogier gave an early indication that opening the road wasn't a bad place to be by winning Friday’s opening two stages at Rally Sweden.

The championship leader topped the times through Torsby by 2.7sec in his Volkswagen Polo R from team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. He then outpaced Andreas Mikkelsen by 2.2sec in R?jden to open a 7.8sec lead.

"It's really nice, conditions are beautiful. There is good ice on the road and it’s fast and narrow. On this one running first was quite OK," said the Frenchman at the finish of SS3.

Latvala was only fifth in Rojden, the Finn non-plussed with his performance. "Not good. I thought I had a good run but it seems we’re losing time. In SS2 I struggled in the junctions. The car wasn’t turning in and I couldn’t find the braking points," he said.

Mikkelsen was third overall, despite dropping a few seconds after clipping a hay bale in a Torsby chicane. Consistent performances in both tests put Mads Ostberg fourth in Citroen's DS 3, just 1.3sec behind his fellow Norwegian and 1.9sec ahead of team-mate Kris Meeke.

There were plenty of early incidents. Ott Tanak lost 10sec after burying his Ford Fiesta RS in a snow bank near the finish of SS2, while debutant Kevin Abbring lost 1min 30sec in his Hyundai i20 when he missed a corner after his glasses steamed up.

Lorenzo Bertelli dropped nearly two minutes in SS3 after driveshaft issues left his Fiesta RS in front-wheel drive only, while Robert Kubica, Hayden Paddon and Michal Solowow all overshot a junction and had to reverse back onto the road.

click: & ss3



SS4 / SS5: Three out of four for Ogier

Sebastien Ogier ended Friday morning at Rally Sweden with a 9.1sec lead after topping the timesheets in three of the four special stages.

Having won SS2 and SS3, he conceded fastest time to Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in Finnskogen, before winning the Kirken?r test despite a startline glitch.

"I had a problem at the start because the gears didn’t engage and maybe I lost a second. It wasn’t a big drama. We have to take our chances now because there are maybe different times coming for us this afternoon," said road opener Ogier.

It was a mixed pair of stages for Latvala. "SS4 was good but I’ve never driven the next one well, and now I realise why. I’m too careful turning into tight corners, maybe I’m not relaxed enough," he said.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Ostberg continued their all-Norwegian duel for third. Mikkelsen held the edge over the DS 3 driver by 2.4sec despite struggling to turn his Polo R into corners.

Thierry Neuville is isolated in fifth, but the Belgian was frustrated with his times. He was 17.2sec clear of Kris Meeke, who slipped behind the Hyundai i20 after losing 30sec with a spin in Finnskogen.

"It was quite high speed," said the Northern Irishman. "I hit a snow bank and it dragged the front in, and spun us 360 degrees down the road. This is new for me and it’s all part of the learning curve."

Seventh-placed Elfyn Evans admitted he was searching for the 'sweet spot' with his driving, while team-mate Ott Tanak was a place behind despite 'driving as fast as I possibly can'. Robert Kubica and Martin Prokop completed the top 10.

Just outside the leaderboard was a frustrated Hayden Paddon. The Kiwi is effectively driving the injured Dani Sordo's i20 with the Spaniard's set-up due to key parts being linked to other rallies and said he had no confidence with the set-up.

click: & ss5



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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Friday Afternoon

SS6 / SS7: Latvala eats into Ogier's lead

Jari-Matti Latvala slashed Sebastien Ogier's Rally Sweden lead to just 1.0sec as the Frenchman endured two troublesome stages following the mid-leg regroup.

The windscreen wipers on Ogier's Volkswagen Polo R failed in the second pass through the Kirken?r stage, allowing team-mate Latvala to reclaim 5.8sec of the Frenchman’s lead.

Ogier worked on the following liaison section to make repairs but finished the following Finnskogen test with a smashed windscreen and buckled bonnet.

"The wipers still don't work, but on this one that wasn't a problem. I made another mistake by forgetting to put the bonnet pins back in on the road section. The bonnet flipped up and broke the windscreen. It was bad luck, but we do our best," Ogier explained.

Latvala was second in Kirken?r in his similar Polo R, before winning Finnskogen. "I was a bit lucky that Ogier had a problem, but it wasn’t easy because the roads were softer. There was ice but at the side of the ruts there’s lots of snow, and if you touch that you immediately lose grip," he said.

Kris Meeke's hopes of reeling in Thierry Neuville for fifth place ended in Finnskogen. "I made a stupid mistake. I went into a snow bank. I couldn’t find the entry point to a corner in the ruts," said the DS 3 driver, who lost almost three minutes.

Also in trouble in the same stage was Robert Kubica, the Pole dropping two minutes after limping through with a suspected differential problem in his Ford Fiesta RS. "Either that, or the propshaft or driveshaft," he said. "Now we have front-wheel drive only. All we can do now is cruise through the rest of today."

Yuriy Protasov was the surprise winner of Kirken?r, the Ukraine driver’s first WRC stage victory.

Lorenzo Bertelli, who struggled with just front-wheel drive in his Fiesta RS after a driveshaft problem, retired at the regroup after SS5.

click: & ss7



SS8 / SS9: Mikkelsen on top after Torsby drama

Andreas Mikkelsen emerged from Friday’s penultimate special stage of Rally Sweden as a surprised leader after Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both went off the road.

Ogier started the Torsby test with a 2.9sec advantage over Volkswagen team-mate Latvala and was the first to suffer near the start.

"We hit a snow bank in a slow corner. I made a mistake and braked too late for a junction. I thought it would be OK but I hit the bank and got stuck. As first on the road I had to take risks. It was my only chance to try to do something," said the Frenchman, who dropped almost 40sec into fourth.

Then it was Latvala's turn, the Finn ditching his Polo R just 400 metres from the finish and losing 8min 30sec before spectators manhandled his car back onto the road.

"After a long straight we came too fast into a right corner. I saw some gravel on the road and thought the grip would be better, but the rear hit a snow bank and it pulled the front in. I kept full throttle on but the whole car was dragged into the ditch," he explained.

Second fastest Mikkelsen headed to Karlstad for the final stage of the leg with a 19.7sec lead over Thierry Neuville (pictured below), who claimed fastest time in his Hyundai i20 by 1.0sec. Mads Ostberg dropped time to them in both tests, and the DS 3 pilot is 0.9sec further back.

In trouble on the previous stage was Elfyn Evans, another to fall victim to the snow. "I didn’t get enough turn into a junction. I used the handbrake and thought we’d bounce off a snow bank, but instead we bounced up and became beached," explained the Ford Fiesta RS driver, who lost almost two minutes and fell from sixth to 10th.

Martin Prokop has lost fourth gear in his Fiesta RS but the Czech driver is up to seventh.

click: & ss9



Mikkelsen leads

Andreas Mikkelsen led Rally Sweden after Friday’s dramatic opening leg in which team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both went off the road while leading.

Mikkelsen battled handling issues on snow and ice-covered forest roads in Sweden and Norway to hold a 19.1sec advantage over Thierry Neuville, putting himself in a strong position to net his maiden FIA World Rally Championship victory.

The Norwegian clipped a chicane with his Volkswagen Polo R early in the day, and was astonished to leap from third to first following the troubles that befell championship leader Ogier and Latvala in the penultimate special stage.

"To be in Norway, with so many local supporters, gave me lots of motivation,” said Mikkelsen. "Obviously it's a great feeling to lead, but I have to feel a bit bad for the luck of my team-mates. It's also a bit of a surprise because we didn’t have the best rhythm all day."

Ogier won three of the opening four stages to build a near-10sec lead but faulty windscreen wipers allowed Latvala to close. The gap fell to a second when Ogier’s bonnet flipped up and cracked his windscreen after he forgot to secure it while trying to repair the wipers before the test.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

SS11 / SS12: Ostberg falls back

Mads Ostberg hit problems in Saturday’s opening special stage at Rally Sweden when the third-placed Norwegian slammed his car into a snow bank near the finish of the test.

His DS 3 slid wide in a right corner and punctured the left rear tyre, but Ostberg left the stop line fearing there might be suspension damage also. That wasn't the case and he was third fastest through the following Rammen test.

"We had a few problems with the gearbox in the first stage. That didn't cause me to hit the bank, but I was out of the rhythm," he said.

Sebastien Ogier moved ahead of Ostberg in Fredriksberg, and the Frenchman was fastest in Rammen in his Volkswagen Polo R to relegate Thierry Neuville and take second place. The gap between the duo is 7.9sec.

"There was so much fresh snow in the first stage," said Ogier, who is second in the start order. "The second stage was better with less loose snow."

Neuville arrived at the finish of R?mmen shaking his head and said: "I’m flat out everywhere and can do no more. I’m over the limit and taking too many risks. I want to fight for second but it will be difficult. I have a perfect racing line but I can’t go faster."

Leader Andreas Mikkelsen was quickest through Fredriksberg but had a less enjoyable time in the next test. "We were a little in a ditch and filled the front of the car with snow. The rhythm wasn’t as good as the first stage," said the Norwegian who dropped 8.0sec to Ogier.

Jari-Matti Latvala lost a handful of seconds after hitting a snow bank in his Polo R while Henning Solberg dropped five minutes in the opener after burying his Ford Fiesta RS into the snow. Solberg was also suffering the same gearchange issues that plagued him yesterday.

click: & ss12



SS13/14: Mikkelsen slip allows Ogier in

Rally Sweden leader Andreas Mikkelsen handed away most of his advantage to team-mate Sebastien Ogier after dropping almost 20sec with a spin in Saturday morning's Vargasen special stage.

The Norwegian’s 20.8sec lead was slashed to just 1.7sec as Ogier continued his recovery from his own off-the-road incident yesterday afternoon.

"I touched the bank a little with the rear of the car and it spun," said Mikkelsen, who admitted he was feeling the pressure of fighting for a maiden WRC win in his Volkswagen Polo R.

"I had to turn around but it took a long time because the road was so narrow. It will be an interesting afternoon now but we’ll give it everything. This is a new situation for me but we'll do the job as well as we can. It will be tough but we won’t give up," he added.

There was plenty of loose snow in the test, famed for the Colin’s Crest jump, and Ogier opened the road for the final section after first in the start order Lorenzo Bertelli went off.

"Everything was fine but the stage wasn't for me. Conditions were quite slippery but I pushed as much as I could," said Ogier, who, despite his misgivings, was fastest.

Thierry Neuville was just 0.3sec behind Ogier in a Hyundai i20 and trails him by 10.7sec overall in third, with Mads ?stberg a further 38.8sec behind in fourth in Citroen's DS 3.

Ott Tanak is fifth in his Ford Fiesta RS with Hayden Paddon sixth, the Kiwi making changes to his Hyundai i20 to find a better feeling. Martin Prokop is seventh with Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke, third in Vargasen, recovering from yesterday's offs in eighth and ninth.

Yuriy Protasov is 10th, despite dropping almost 30sec in the previous Hagfors Sprint stage in his Fiesta RS. "A lot of slide and after it wasn't possible to turn. We went a little bit off the road," he said.

Jari-Matti Latvala's troubled weekend continued when the Finn lost a further 45sec after spinning into a snow bank.

click: & ss14



Premium Member
1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SS15/16: Mikkelsen rebuilds buffer

Andreas Mikkelsen delivered the perfect reposte to Sebastien Ogier’s attempt to wrest the Rally Sweden lead from his hands on Saturday afternoon.

Ogier slashed Mikkelsen’s advantage in the morning’s final stage to just 1.7sec, but the Norwegian pulled clear again in the second pass through the Fredriksberg stage as the Frenchman struggled for traction.

He was second fastest, 10.9sec clear of Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Ogier. "We pushed very hard. I knew Ogier would push as well but the conditions helped a bit," he said.

Mikkelsen was on target to stretch his lead further in the following Rammen stage until two slight errors in the final section handed 2.2sec back. "Every year I never get that last split right," he laughed. "I went a little bit straight in two junctions so I had no speed coming out. But we’ll continue to drive flat out, we have nothing to lose."

Road opener Ogier had the worst of the slushy conditions, especially in Fredriksberg. "It was really, really bad. The line was messed up by the cars behind us in the first pass and I never had any grip in the loose with the rear. The next stage was better, but still not good," he said.

Thierry Neuville capitalised on Ogier’s struggles to edge his Hyundai i20 into second. The Belgian won Fredriksberg and although he ceded fractions to Ogier in Rammen after sliding into the snow, Neuville held a 3.7sec advantage.

"I pushed hard in the first one but conditions were tricky. I had a couple of moments and Nicolas told me to calm down. I was a bit smoother towards the end. I tried to look outside the lines for traction in the next one. It wasn’t the best feeling but the time is good," he said.

Kris Meeke (below) won Rammen in Citroen’s DS 3, the Northern Irishman admitting: "Conditions are definitely improving for cars further down the order."

Martin Prokop counted himself lucky to have escaped when his Ford Fiesta RS landed on its nose after a SS15 jump, while Kevin Abbring dropped 90sec at the same corner as Mikkelsen and Neuville made mistakes.

click: afternoon/ss15 & ss16



Neuville vaults into Sweden lead

Thierry Neuville delivered a masterful drive through Saturday's final speed test to snatch a slender lead at Rally Sweden.

Armed with new spiked snow tyres on the front of his Hyundai i20, he blitzed rivals Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier to turn a 7.3sec deficit into a 1.5sec advantage with one day remaining in this second round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Daylong leader Mikkelsen held second in a Volkswagen Polo R and team-mate Ogier was just 8.1sec further back in third.

"That was one of the best stages I’ve ever driven," said Neuville. "I had a big, big push. The new tyres were probably worth three or four seconds and I had a good feeling in the car, it's so much fun. It’ll be hard tomorrow with three tricky stages, but I’m not going to slow down."

Neuville was more than 30sec adrift of Mikkelsen after three of today's eight snow-covered special stages near Hagfors. But the Norwegian, who admitted to feeling the pressure of chasing a maiden WRC win, gave away 20sec after touching a snow bank and spinning.

Conditions favoured Neuville this afternoon as the early starters cleared slush off the driving line, and neither road opener Ogier nor Mikkelsen could hold the Belgian at bay as his clever tyre strategy paid dividends.

After restarting this morning in fourth, Ogier was up to second within two stages, slashing Mikkelsen’s lead to 1.7sec after his team-mate's mistakes. Slushy roads cost valuable seconds this afternoon but he remained poised to attack in Sunday's final leg.

Mads Ostberg lost third place after slamming Citroen's DS 3 into a bank in the opening stage and puncturing the left rear tyre. Gearbox problems hindered him all day and he is 53.4sec off the lead in fourth.

Ott Tanak consolidated fifth in a Ford Fiesta RS and Kiwi Hayden Paddon improved the feeling with his Hyundai i20 to stay sixth, more than a minute behind.

Martin Prokop was seventh, despite almost rolling his Fiesta RS after it landed on its nose at a jump. Elfyn Evans held off Kris Meeke in eighth, Meeke grabbing a stage win this afternoon. Yuriy Protasov completed the leaderboard, despite dropping 30sec after going off.

Jari-Matti Latvala's troubled weekend continued when he dropped 45sec after spinning into the snow and the Finn ended the day in 17th.

Sunday’s final leg covers three stages and 46.74km, with the Power Stage offering bonus points to the fastest three drivers.




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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)

SS19: First blood to Mikkelsen

Andreas Mikkelsen regained the lead of Rally Sweden in the opening special stage of Sunday’s final leg after intercom problems delayed Thierry Neuville.

He moved ahead by 3.8sec in his Volkswagen Polo R, although fastest time went to team-mate S?bastien Ogier, who is now only 6.8sec off the lead.

Second-fastest Mikkelsen admitted to a minor mistake. "I was a bit too wide in the fast section. I was OK at the beginning but I was too careful in places after that. The stage was in great condition and maybe I didn’t take advantage of that. We have to fight like crazy and see what we can do in the next two stages," he said.

Neuville's intercom issues began just 500 metres after the start. "I had a lot of interference in the intercom and it was disturbing. Nicolas (co-driver Gilsoul) couldn’t hear me and I hit a snow bank," said the Belgian.

Ogier was content with his performance. "It was a bit tricky and there were a lot of snow banks missing from the other drivers. It wasn’t a bad stage. I slowed down because Mads' Ostberg car was in the road and I hope the others slowed down like me," he said.

Ostberg lost more than five minutes after burying Citroen's DS 3 into the snow midway through. The Norwegian said his car’s handbrake didn’t work. "I tried to use it but it locked all four wheels and put us off," he said.

Robert Kubica restarted with a five-minute penalty after stewards found the engine in his Ford Fiesta RS exceeded the maximum permitted turbo boost. His team said it could not control the boost level as the mapping was supplied by engine supplier M-Sport, to whom it had reported the issue twice.

click: ss19


SS20: Final stage thriller awaits

A thrilling live TV finale lies in wait at Rally Sweden as Andreas Mikkelsen, Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville will head into the Power Stage with just 4.6sec covering the trio.

Ogier was fastest of the tussling threesome through the first pass of the Varmullsasen stage to edge ahead of Neuville into second. However, Mikkelsen still heads him by 3.0sec, with Neuville a further 1.6sec behind in third.

Mikkelsen was on the ragged edge as he powered down the ski slope towards the finish, a huge jump followed by a brush with a snow bank in the final corner.

"I went wide there and lost a second, but otherwise it was a clean stage. It’s going to be a very exciting last stage. A win is definitely possible," said the Norwegian Volkswagen Polo R driver, who conceded 3.8sec to Ogier.

"It wasn’t a perfect stage for me. I made a few mistakes when I hit snow banks. One stage to go and I still need more time, "said Ogier.

Neuville repaired the intercom problems that hindered him in the previous test and the Hyundai i20 pilot still fancied his chances.

"It’s not over. We had a very good stage, close to perfect. I have good tyres which could be helpful and everything is still open," said the Belgian.

Martin Prokop slipped from sixth to eighth as the pressure of trying to keep the dueling Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke behind him almost proved too much.

"I had a huge moment. I was pushing on a high-speed corner and had a half-roll. I have no idea how we got back on the road. When we stopped it was all dark - there was snow all over the car," said the Czech driver who lost 30sec in the incident. Just 1.4sec separate the two Britons in sixth and seventh.

Michal Solowow retired after his Ford Fiesta RS went off the road and became stuck in the snow.

click: ss20


SS21: Ogier wins Sweden thriller

Sebastien Ogier snatched a dramatic last-gasp victory at Rally Sweden after a titanic three-car tussle through Sunday’s final speed test.

Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen held a 3.0sec advantage going into the closing 15.87km of the four-day snow rally. He maintained his advantage until the final third of the stage when he touched a bank and spun his Volkswagen Polo R into the snow.

That handed victory to the championship leader, who held off Thierry Neuville. The Belgian led going into today’s final leg and finished 6.4sec behind Ogier in a Hyundai i20, with the recovering Mikkelsen a further 33.4sec back in third.

Ogier’s charge earned him three bonus points for winning the rally-closing live TV Power Stage. Neuville claimed two points for second with Mads Ostberg taking one point in third.


Ogier wins after thrilling Sweden finale

Sebastien Ogier claimed a thrilling last-gasp victory at Rally Sweden on Sunday after team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen spun away a maiden WRC victory almost within sight of the finish.

In the most exciting WRC finale for years, Ogier kept his cool to overturn a 3.0sec deficit in the final 15.87km special stage, while holding off Thierry Neuville in a titanic three-car tussle through the snowy forests of central Sweden.

Just 4.6sec covered the trio heading to the final live TV Power Stage. Interim times showed Mikkelsen remained on target to win as he entered the final section of the stage, but his Volkswagen Polo R touched a bank and was dragged into deep snow.

Ogier was already at the finish line and punched the air as news of Mikkelsen's mistake was relayed to him, the Frenchman beating Neuville by 6.4sec.

"This was one of the most exciting WRC events," he said. "It's a crazy win because I had to push flat out from the beginning of the rally to the end. My first win here two years ago was a hard fight, but I had to play everything here in the final stage and it was a fantastic end. Andreas did a great job and he’s very young so we'll have many more future battles.

"I made only one mistake on Friday and apart from that I’m proud to have kept the car on the road at that level of speed," added Ogier.

An emotional Mikkelsen recovered to take third, 33.4sec behind Neuville, and the Norwegian said: "We gave it all in the last stage, but there was a bank full of snow and we were stuck. We tried and hopefully we’ll get more luck next time."

Neuville led going into the final day but a faulty intercom and a brush with a snow bank earlier this morning allowed Ogier through, and the consistent Belgian was happy with second after the final stage showdown.

Ott Tanak finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta RS after Citroen's Mads Ostberg lost more than five minutes buried in a snow bank in this morning’s opening stage. Hayden Paddon, replacing the injured Dani Sordo, scored a career-best fifth in another i20.

Elfyn Evans was sixth after Kris Meeke’s determined effort to displace him ended in a high-speed spin in the final test. Meeke remained seventh, both Britons having relegated Martin Prokop to eighth earlier when the Czech driver almost rolled his Fiesta RS.

Yuriy Protasov and Ostberg completed the leaderboard, while the Volkswagen team retired Jari-Matti Latvala in service after the final stage.


Next: Rnd 3 Rally Mexico Mar 5-8


First held in 1979, the rally moved to Le?n in 1998 and joined WRC in 2004.
The 2007 rally was the shortest in WRC history with a total distance of less than 850km. It still included more than 366km of stages and more than 43 per cent was competitive.
Sebastien Loeb scored six consecutive wins between 2006 and 2012 (the rally was absent in 2009 due to rotation).

What’s new for 2015

Thursday night’s curtain-raiser in Guanajuato is followed by tests at Le?n’s race circuit, a popular viewing spot for fans.
A short street stage close to the service park returns to an early afternoon slot on Friday and Saturday.

Official Site:

Listen Live:

WRC+ : Live Stages/Live Maps/Onboard Action/Full Highlights

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