Swedish Rally Preview

Do you want to go rallying on the world stage? Register a team in the 1998 EIS Fantasy World Rally Championship today. http://www.excaliber-net.com/fantasyrally ----------------------------------------------------------- The International Swedish...

Do you want to go rallying on the world stage? Register a team in the 1998 EIS Fantasy World Rally Championship today. http://www.excaliber-net.com/fantasyrally ----------------------------------------------------------- The International Swedish Rally 1998 Official Site: http://www.swerally.se Background Information


The 1998 International Swedish Rally starts on Friday, 6 February and covers a total distance of 1,433 kilometres. The Swedish is like no other rally in the World Championship. It is the one true winter event in the 14-round series, that snow and ice are guaranteed. Temperatures of -15 are merely average in mid-Sweden in February and it can drop to -30* C.

This year's rally looks as though it should be a classic: more than 16 centimetres of snow have fallen in the Varmland province in central Sweden and the forecast is that it will remain very cold for the duration of the rally.

"The Swedish is always a very challenging event. Even though the rally is held on snow, the roads are quite smooth and therefore the car speeds are high," says Sainz. "The main difference here to other rallies comes with the tyres. The special studded ones we use in Sweden are very different to the studs we can have in Monte Carlo, for example."

Driving on snow with studded tyres is a skill that takes years of practice to acquire - little wonder that the Swedish is therefore the only rally in the World Rally Championship that has yet to be won by a non-Scandinavian driver.

“With ideal snow conditions, this is one of the best rallies in the world but the weather has been pretty changeable during testing,” said Colin McRae. “We have spent a couple of days with Pirelli but obviously you can only test to the conditions you have at the time, and the rally could be completely different. We’ve therefore been trying as many different combinations as possible to ensure we are as competitive and well-prepared as last year."

All the top teams will be there: Toyota have entered Monte Carlo winners Carlos Sainz and Luis Moya partnering regular team-mates Didier Auriol and Denis Giraudet. The third car, entered by Toyota Castrol Team Sweden, will be driven by Thomas Radström and Lars Bäckman, and will be registered as the team's second WRC points-scoring car alongside that of Sainz and Moya.

Subaru have also entered a three car team comprising of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist; Piero Liatti & Fabrizia Pons and Kenneth Eriksson & Staffan Parmander. McRae has an impressive record that includes six finishes from seven outings, three on the podium. In his first full season in the World Rally Championship, Piero Liatti’s knowledge of some of the events is limited, but the enthusiastic and skillful Italian will doubtless demonstrate his ability to adapt accordingly. Born and bred locally, there are few with more experience of the rally than Kenneth Eriksson. The Swede has competed in his home event no fewer than thirteen times and has three wins to his credit (1991, 1995 and 1997).

Mitsubishi have entered Tommi Makinen and new co-driver Risto Mannisenmaki. After being the only leading driver not to finish the Monte Carlo, he will be eager to have a good result in Sweden. Makinen will be supported by British crew Richard Burns and Robert Reid, driving a Carisma GT. Burns has never contested the Swedish Rally before and is aware that such a specialised rally will be an immense challenge. Uwe Nittel and Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner, will also drive a Group A Carisma GT.

Ford have entered Juha Kankkunen & Juha Repo and also Bruno Thiry & Stephane Preuot. Juha Kankkunen holds the most knowledge of this winter rally and some top results from his five attempts will stand the Finn in good stead. By contrast, his team-mate, Bruno Thiry, has limited experience with only one outing to his credit.


1997 Top 10 Results

1 Kenneth Eriksson         Subaru WRC
2 Carlos Sainz                 Ford Escort
3 Tommi Mäkinen         Mitsubishi Evo
4 Colin McRae                 Subaru WRC
5 Thomas Rådström         Toyota Celica
6 Armin Schwarz         Ford Escort
7 Thomas Jansson         Toyota Celica
8 Marcus Grönholm         Toyota Celica
9 Mats Jonsson          Ford Escort
10 Stig Blomqvist         Ford Escort


Past Winners:

1997 Kenneth Eriksson (Subaru WRC) 1996 Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi Lancer RS) 1995 Kenneth Eriksson (Mitsubishi Lancer RS) 1994 Thomas Rådström (Toyota Celica GT4) 1993 Mats Jonsson (Toyota Celica Turbo 4wd) 1992 Mats Jonsson (Toyota Celica GT4) 1991 Kenneth Eriksson (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) 1990 The rally was cancelled due to weather conditions 1989 Ingvar Carlsson (Mazda 323 4wd Turbo) 1988 Markku Alén (Lancia Delta HF 4wd) 1987 Timo Salonen (Mazda 323 4 wd Turbo) 1986 Juha Kankkunen (Peugeot 205 T16) 1985 Ari Vatanen (Peugeot 205 T16) 1984 Stig Blomqvist (Audi Quattro) 1983 Hannu Mikkola (Audi Quattro) 1982 Stig Blomqvist (Audi Quattro) 1981 Hannu Mikkola (Audi Quattro) 1980 Anders Kulläng (Opel Ascona 400)

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Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Armin Schwarz , Thomas Radstrom , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Robert Reid , Luis Moya , Nicky Grist , Fabrizia Pons , Ari Vatanen , Tina Thorner , Markku Alen , Denis Giraudet , Piero Liatti , Juha Repo , Lars Backman , Stig Blomqvist , Ingvar Carlsson , Uwe Nittel , Hannu Mikkola