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Rally Review: Rally Sweden

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Sébastien Ogier made it two wins from two events in the FIA World Rally Championship, winning a weather-affected Rally Sweden.

The Volkswagen driver took maximum points, winning the rally and the Power Stage, for the second successive rally and extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 23 points after two events.

It is the Frenchman’s third victory in Sweden, following wins in 2013 and 2015.

Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon finished in second place, 29.8 seconds behind Ogier.

The New Zealander becomes the first non-European driver to earn a podium position at Rally Sweden.


Norwegian Mads Ostberg gained his first podium since returning to M-Sport in the off-season, bringing his Ford Fiesta RS home in third position.

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Warmer temperatures and rainfall before the rally caused some to question if the event would go ahead, with some roads becoming flooded and the remaining road surfaces covered with gravel rather than the usual ice and snow.

Rally Sweden is one of the fastest events of the season, with special, studded, winter tyres allowing the drivers to achieve incredible speeds on its traditional surface.

Because of the event’s classification as a ‘winter rally’, regulations require those tyres to be used.

The studs are designed to dig into the hard ice and provide drivers with more grip on ice and snow than gravel tyres do on loose surface events.

Without the ice and snow those studs can be ripped from the tyres and put crews and spectators at serious risk due to the lack of grip.

With a cold forecast for the weekend, the WRC’s only true winter event survived any talk of cancellation as organisers worked around the clock to ensure that the rally went ahead.

Eight Special Stages were removed from the event’s itinerary, with one more stage being cancelled on Saturday evening, leaving just 12 competitive stages for the crews to tackle.


The opening morning of the rally saw little snow despite colder temperatures and so, with the drivers completing the stage in championship order, Sébastien Ogier had little to sweep away for those behind.

Not that that helped team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala at all.

Volkswagen’s ‘Flying Finn’, who was forced to retire last time out in Monte-Carlo, landed heavily in his Polo R on SS2 and damaged the driveshaft.

Without the required parts in the car to repair the damage on the road section between stages, Latvala eventually retired.

Snow then began to fall in the afternoon stages as the rally crossed from Sweden into Norway.

Both Ogier and Mikkelsen were almost caught by the changing conditions, driving through a water splash which almost sent both drivers into the trees bordering the road.

Mikkelsen, who was running in second place, made another error in SS7 which saw him run wide and clip a tree stump with the rear of the car.

The Norwegian was able to carry on, however he lost almost 20 seconds and finished the day in sixth position.

Not so fortunate was Britain’s Kris Meeke.

The Citroën driver, by now up into second position, was following the visible line from the cars already in the stage when he hit a hidden rock, embedded on the inside of a corner, and terminally damaged his DS 3.

That is Meeke’s second successive retirement whilst competing for the rally lead, with his Monte-Carlo rally coming to an end for exactly the same reason.

Hayden Paddon rapidly climbed the standings after winning the last two stages of Friday.

The 28-year-old benefitted from a lower starting order, allowing a lot of the loose snow to be swept away before he entered the stage.

The Hyundai driver was quick though, despite this being his debut in the new i20, and moved up to second by the end of the day.

M-Sport’s Mads Ostberg put in a solid performance on the opening day of his home event, finishing the day in third place.


Snow overnight into Saturday saw Rally Sweden begin to look like the winter event that rally fans have come to expect.

The extra dusting meant Ogier would have to drive right on the limit to maintain first place.

Paddon pushed Ogier all the way, and closed the gap between the two to just 8.8 seconds.

The Frenchman showed once again why he is the reigning WRC Champion and, displaying lightning quick reflexes to keep the Polo R in line, began rebuilding his lead as the snow cleared.

As more gravel began to show on the road surfaces, the organisers took the decision to cancel Sunday’s opening stage.

This meant that the Power Stage was the only stage of the day.

Ogier and Mikkelsen completed a one-two for Volkswagen in the stage with Meeke, running under Rally 2 regulations, finishing third in the stage an gaining the remaining bonus point.

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Ogier said at the finish; “It’s been an amazing weekend. I’m so happy to come back here with another victory. I love Rally Sweden.”


The 2016 FIA WRC Rally Sweden point scoring positions;

1 S. OGIER 1:59:47.4
2 H. PADDON 2:00:17.2 +29.8 +29.8
3 M. OSTBERG 2:00:43.0 +25.8 +55.6
4 A. MIKKELSEN 2:00:58.2 +15.2 +1:10.8
5 O. TANAK 2:01:38.1 +39.9 +1:50.7
6 D. SORDO 2:02:11.4 +33.3 +2:24.0
7 H. SOLBERG 2:02:27.4 +16.0 +2:40.0
8 C. BREEN 2:02:32.0 +4.6 +2:44.6
9 E. EVANS 2:05:04.4 +2:32.4 +5:17.0
10 T. SUNINEN 2:05.19.0 +14.6 +5.31.6


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