Rally de Espana, or the Rally of Spain is the penultimate round of the WRC and the only mixed surface event on the calendar. The first two day swill run on fast smooth tarmac outside of the seaside resort of Salou on Spain’s Costa Daurada. The stages are so fast that it is largely compared to circuit racing, but with much more picturesque surroundings. Sunday’s final stages will be on gravel which adds a bit of controversy as the running order will not be in reverse order when they hit the dirt. That means the leader of the race will actually be sweeping the road clear for those trying to catch him. Look to see some interesting tactics on Saturday evening as teams jockey for what they think is the best position. It could all be for not if there is heavy dust and no wind though.
Will Sebastian Ogier and Volkswagen dominate again? Personally my eyes will be on Thierry Neuville to get his first win. Thierry is rumored to have already inked a 3yr contract with Hyundai starting next year, however some say that he could stay at M-Sport where he has been extremely competitive this year. Don’t rule out Dani Sordo of course as this is his home round and he has had 5 podiums. Finally keep track of the newcomer from New Zealand, Hayden Paddon. Paddon has steadily climbed the WRC ladder with a dominant win of the former PWRC production class 2 years ago and then showing moments of brilliance in a Super 2000 Skoda Fabia. Paddon got the nod to drive for Qatar M-Sport in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. It will be interesting to see how well he performs in comparison to the more experienced WRC drivers.
Take a listen to the action this weekend from WRC Live at the following times and also make sure to follow @OfficialWRC on Twitter.
WRC Live web link: http://www.wrc.com/fanzone/wrc-live/
Friday 1:45 PM Eastern or Friday 10:45 AM Pacific
Saturday 2:45AM Eastern or Friday 11:45 PM Pacific
Sunday 2:15 AM Eastern or Saturday 11:15 PM Pacific