The FIA inaugurates rallying Hall of Fame
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Drivers’ World Rally Championship (created in 1979), the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has ina...
Rally Sweden – Round 2 of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship – was won by Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin), ahead of Esapekka Lappi (Citroën/Michelin) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin). The new Michelin X-Ice North NA01 dominated the WRC2 Pro and WRC2 orders with Mads Ostberg (Citroën) and Ole-Christian Veiby (Volkswagen) respectively.
Despite a cold start to February in Sweden’s Värmland and Norway’s Finnskogen regions, the 2019 Rally Sweden was marked by a distinct shortage of wintry conditions after a thaw set in to melt the snow and transform the stages into a mushy mix of mud, dirt, water and ice, especially on the second passes.
The conditions were consequently complex not only for the crews but also for their Michelin X-Ice North tyres, each one of which is equipped with 384 studs designed to bite into frozen ground. Instead, their mission this time was had to eke out the necessary grip to allow the cars to travel at speeds of up to 120kph in the slushy cocktail.
The weather played into the hands of the crews running in the middle of the order on the opening day’s stages in Norway which saw Teemu Suninen (Ford/Michelin) celebrate his recent 25
The next day, Suninen was soon hauled in by Tänak whose flying form on Rally Sweden classics Rämmen, Hagfors and Vargasen allowed him to build up a lead of almost a minute by Saturday evening. The Estonian went on to claim his maiden win on the event and earn Toyota Gazoo Racing’s second victory in Torsby in three years.
Spectators were also kept entertained by a splendid battle for the podium’s other steps involving Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai/Michelin), Lappi, Neuville and Elfyn Evans (Ford/Michelin). At the start of the final day, this quartet was covered by less than 15 seconds, and the first two were exactly level!
Second and third places ended up in the hands of Lappi (+53.7s) and Neuville (+56.7s), with Mikkelsen (4
Michelin bounced back from its Rally Sweden defeat last year in RC2 to monopolise the class’s podium this time around and top the WRC2 Pro and WRC2 classes with Mads Ostberg (Citroën C3 R5) and Ole-Christian Veiby (VW Polo R5) on the new Michelin X-Ice North NA01 (new casing, different studding arrangement).
The WRC’s next round will take teams to Mexico on March 8-10.
2019 Rally Sweden – final positions:
Tänak/Järveoja (Toyota/Michelin), 2h47m30.0s
Lappi/Ferm (Citroën/Michelin), +53.7s
Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai/Michelin), +56.7s
Mikkelsen/Jaeger (Hyundai/Michelin), +1m5.4s
Evans/Martin (Ford/Michelin), +1m8.2s
Meeke/Marshall (Toyota/Michelin), +1m38.8s
Loeb/Elena (Hyundai/Michelin), +1m49.7s
Tidemand/Floene (Ford/Michelin), +3m37.7s
Veiby/Andersson (VW/Michelin, 1
Tuohino/Markkula (Ford/Michelin), +8m21.4s