Aiming to continue our winning ways
In WRC, it’s important to react quickly to changing scenarios. Rally Sweden, the second round of the 2020 championship, has certainly required some fast thinking on the part of organisers.
Unseasonably warm weather in the region of the rally has required the itinerary to be shortened considerably from its original challenge. We are now preparing to tackle a reduced 11-stage schedule, but one that will undoubtedly remain an exciting, yet demanding event.
“We appreciate the concerted efforts of the organisers and the FIA to make Rally Sweden happen,” said our Team Principal Andrea. “We acknowledge the challenges that have been faced in preparing for the rally, with safety at the forefront of the decision-making process.”
A four-day programme will cover around 180km of special stages with maximum championship points on offer for teams and crews. We will be aiming to continue our winning ways with three crews lining up in the i20 Coupe WRC cars.
Monte-Carlo winners Thierry and Nicolas will be hoping to score a hat-trick of victories, having also won in the final event of the 2019 season, Rally de España. They are also keeping their fingers crossed for some of the white stuff.
“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,” said Thierry. “If there will be less snow than previous years it could be quite tough.
Ott and Martin are fighting fit following their Monte crash and are ready to show their pace at a venue where they were victorious twelve months ago.
“Since Monte, I have been feeling better every day,” said Ott. “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. Sweden will be our first time on loose surface with Hyundai, but I hope we can deliver a good result.”
Back in the hot seat
Joining us in the #16 car will be Craig and Paul, taking part in their third event with our team after competing in Finland and Wales GB last season.
“I am very humbled to have the chance of getting behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC again,” said Craig. “Sweden is a rally I enjoy. Hopefully the conditions will be favourable for us and the cold will arrive in the region for us to have ‘proper’ roads.”
All three crews have tested in Sweden in the run-up to the event, although conditions are still subject to change as the weather gods determine the precise nature of this year’s Rally Sweden.
Andrea added: “We don’t expect this event to be straightforward, but we will focus on managing the things in our control to deliver the best result we can.”
Home feeling for WRC 2 crew
Rally Sweden will represent a home event for one of our WRC 2 crews. Ole Christian and Jonas will have the opportunity to compete on their home roads with stages on the revised schedule still to be run across the border into neighbouring Norway.
Ole Christian said: “It’s very much a home rally, one of the stages even goes through our family forest. 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 and Yaroslav will also be hoping for a more consistent performance in Sweden after making their debut in the i20 R5 at the opening round.
“We had a valuable experience in Monte-Carlo, adapting to a new car in tricky conditions,” said Nikolay. “I feel more confident now. I hope we will have a positive weekend – whatever the conditions.”
“We saw an encouraging performance from our i20 R5 in Monte-Carlo,” said Andrea. “In Sweden, we hope to see a more consistent and representative result, even with the challenges that we expect all crews will face.”