Rally Sweden has canceled its Thursday night Karlstad superspecial in favour of a second shakedown stage.
The loss of the event’s traditional opener (pictured above in 2019) comes as no surprise given temperatures rose well above freezing throughout the day in Karlstad on Wednesday.
Plans to freeze the trotting track used for SS1 have been parked once it became clear similar temperatures were expected on Thursday.
The Karlstad venue will host the ceremonial start – and the crews will continue with the expected promotional activities – but the 1.18-mile stage has now been renamed Shakedown 2.
A bulletin from the stewards states: “SSS1 Karlstad is cancelled. The stage will run as Shakedown 2. All competitors shall complete at least one run of this stage. Only one car on the stage at any one time.”
The crews will still have to complete at least one run at the original Skalla test, now known as Shakedown 1, in the morning.
Bulletin 3 also confirmed rally cars can be transported back from Karlstad to the service park in Torsby as the event hasn’t officially started.
The actual start to the event’s competitive element comes at TC1C, which is the departure from Torsby parc ferme on Friday morning.
The loss of Karlstad means this year’s Rally Sweden will be contested over five stages run twice.
The arrival of some snow in Norway allied to temperatures dipping as low as minus eight overnight looks like it could save Saturday’s planned second run of the Hof-Finnskog, Finnskogen, Nyckelvattnet and Torsby Sprint tests. Those stages had been considered vulnerable if they were too heavily damaged on Friday.
There’s been universal praise around the service park for a Rally Sweden organizing team, which has spent the last week thinking on its feet and evolving a route seriously affected by the warmer than expected temperatures on the Swedish-Norwegian border.