The Rally Sweden Course
Covering a total distance of more than 1,400km and consisting of 19 competitive stages over four days, the route for this year’s Rally Sweden will provide a gruelling test of driver handling on snowy roads. Rally general manager Glenn Olsson has described the roads as ‘almost perfect’ for both competitors and fans as there is ‘full snow’ on all the forest roads and large snow banks lining the stages. The action begins in Karlstad with big power slides, before crossing over the border to Norway and then returning for the final stages in Sweden and the big climax at Torsby.
Five-time world champion Sebastien Ogier began his bid for a sixth straight title in fine style in Monte Carlo last month, leading from the start to the finish despite a couple of dramatic spins early on. Ott Tanak finished almost a minute further back in second, with Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke just behind.
Ogier has won the Rally Sweden in two of the past three seasons, triumphing in both 2015 and 2016. Latvala also has a superb record on the snowy roads of Scandinavia, having won here last year and in 2014.
|1st||Jari-Matti Latvala||Sebastien Ogier||Sebastien Ogier||Jari-Matti Latvala|
|2nd||Ott Tanak||Hayden Paddon||Thierry Neuville||Andreas Mikkelsen|
|3rd||Sebastien Ogier||Mads Ostberg||Andreas Mikkelsen||Mads Ostberg|
The bookmakers are finding it hard to split the top few drivers ahead of the Rally Sweden, with Andreas Mikkelsen, Tanak and Thierry Neuville all being given marginally shorter odds than Ogier. The Rally Sweden does provide a different challenge to most other events and competitors such as Norway’s Mikkelsen and Latvala of Finland will be very accustomed to snowy conditions. Even Norwegian Mads Ostberg, who will be doing a one-off drive with Citroen, could be worth a flutter at long odds of 16/1, but the smart money is surely on Ogier to do what he does best and burn off the competition.
He might not be as familiar with the snowy Scandinavian roads as some of his rivals but his record in Sweden is still exceptional. Ogier can be backed at 6/1 to make it two wins out of two for the season, while he is also priced at evens just to finish in the top three.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.