As the only true winter round of the championship, Rally Sweden will be the first time the new generation WRC cars tackle a combination of frozen roads with snow banks. The infamous Colin’s Crest will also make its first appearance during SS11 Vargåsen on Saturday, giving drivers the chance to compete for the longest jump, which was last awarded to Norway’s Eyvind Brynildsen in 2016 after flying 45 metres in a Ford Fiesta R5, narrowly beating Thierry Neuville’s 2015 record of 44 metres in the i20.
January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo saw Thierry Neuville take an early lead in SS1 which he maintained up until SS13, where his 51 second lead over Ogier was lost after an unfortunate impact halfway through the stage broke the i20’s rear left suspension.
Ogier’s performance in January’s event showed the speed he is capable of, even when driving a car with little testing experience. The frozen roads and snowbanks of the Värmland region will give drivers, teams and spectators the chance to witness the new generation cars perform under different, and often changeable conditions.
If temperatures and road conditions remain constant throughout the event, Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier both have a strong chance of competing for the top spot. Mads Østberg shouldn’t be ruled out either, having achieved 3rd position in both 2014 and 2016. Østberg is 10/1 to win but, given Ogier's dominance, a safer bet might be 13/8 on a podium finish for the Norwegian.
- Sports.net Top Tip - Mads Østberg to finish on the podium - 13/8
Please note that odds may fluctuate.