WRC Rally Sweden 2023: How to watch, Running Order, Full Schedule and more

by Keven S. Reinhart
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Since this is just the second Rally Sweden to be held in Umea, the city is still a bit of a novelty, and the course has undergone some minor adjustments.

Sébastien Ogier may be leading the championship after the first round, but Kalle Rovanperä, Thierry Neuville, and Elfyn Evans will all be fighting for the road sweeper position this weekend.

While the Rally1 vehicles are sure to steal the show, the inaugural Junior WRC event begins off a five-race season that promises to be just as entertaining, if not more so, than Monte Carlo.

After a promising start to his championship defence at Monte Carlo, where he finished second to rally victor and Toyota teammate Sebastien Ogier, reigning champion Kalle Rovanpera is widely regarded as one of the favourites this year. Due to Ogier’s absence, Takamoto Katsuta will make his WRC debut behind the wheel of the third points-scoring GR Yaris in Sweden.

Definition of Rally Sweden

Snow and ice-coated forest roads flanked by snow banks are what racers must navigate during Rally Sweden, the only dedicated snow round of the WRC season. Despite the challenging conditions, the rally is consistently quick. Specially constructed studded tires allow for high speeds.

This rally has been going strong since 1950 and was included in the first-ever World Rally Championship season in 1973.
Karlstad, which is west of Stockholm, has historically played host to the gathering. Last year, though, organizers moved the rally 800 kilometres north to the city of Umea, where racers were guaranteed to see snow.

How to watch Rally Sweden Live

Winners of Rally Sweden

Per-Fredrik Cederbaum, a native Swede driving a BMW, won the first Rally Sweden in 1950.

Since then, local boy Stig Blomqvist has amassed a record seven victories at Rally Sweden, making him the undisputed champion (1971-1973, 1977, 1979, 1982, and 1984). The Rally Sweden was won by drivers using Saab and Audi vehicles, with the former brand having more success overall with ten victories.

The next two greatest records are held by two-time world champions Marcus Gronholm (2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007) and 1979 champion Bjorn Waldegard (1968-1970,1975-1978).
Thierry Neuville (Hyundai, 2018), Ott Tanak (M-Sport, Ford, 2019), Elfyn Evans (Toyota, 2020), and Kalle Rovanpera (Toyota, 2022).

Read More: Wrc Rallye Monte Carlo 2023 How To Watch Free, Tv Schedule, Live Streaming And Everything

Route of the Rally Sweden & Schedule

Starting on Thursday night with the Umea Sprint superspecial, this year’s Rally Sweden will span 18 stages and 187 competitive kilometres. There will be seven stages on Friday, including the Umea Sprint twice.

Additionally, there is a brand-new phase. While Brattby and Sarsjöliden both moved to Friday this year, Botsmark is brand new for 2023. Both Norrby and Floda are brand new stages for the rally’s longest day on Saturday. These two begin the circuit before Friday’s Sävar test (2022), and the first run of Ume, the Sunday power stage, is included as the final test on Saturday.

Only three stages are scheduled for Sunday; after a 15-minute flexi break and two laps around the brand-new Västervik, the race will conclude in Umea at midday.

Thursday 9 February

  • Shakedown begins 8:01 am GMT  (9:01 am local)
  • Stage 1 Umea Sprint begins 7:05 pm GMT (6:05 pm local)

Friday 10 February (7 stages – 111.92km)

  • Stage 2 – Stage 8 begins at 7:30 am GMT (8:30 am local)

Saturday 11 February (9 stages – 126.22km)

  • Stage 9 – Stage 15 begins 7:05 am GMT (8:05 am local)

Sunday 12 February (6 stages – 63.04km)

  • Stage 16 – Stage 18 begins 11:18 am GMT (12:18 pm local)

Rally 1

No Rally1 team is taking the same set of drivers to Sweden that they did from Monte Carlo.
Without any new drivers or staff, M-Sport will only have Ott Tänak and Pierre-Louis Loubet in their two Puma Rally1s. Three weeks ago, Jourdan Serderidis test-drove a third example, but he still hasn’t made the trip up north.

Although Neuville and Esapekka Lappi are Hyundai’s full-time entries, Craig Breen makes his first Hyundai start since returning after a year at M-Sport Ford by replacing Dani Sordo in the third i20 N Rally1.

Rovanperä and Evans, the current world champions, are still driving GR Yaris Rally1s, and Takamoto Katsuta is also expected to compete in one. However, the significance of the ‘M’ next to his name on the entry list lies in the fact that he will be making his debut as a contributor to Toyota’s manufacturers’ championship attempt in Sébastien Ogier’s absence.


WRC2’s Monte Carlo entry was impressive, but Sweden’s is truly spectacular.
While Oliver Solberg made an appearance on the Monte, his championship campaign began this week (on home soil, no less). He is one of four drivers in the koda Fabia RS Rally2 class who deserve serious consideration for the win.

Among them is Nikolay Gryazin, who has shown great promise in the past month, but the Finns Sami Pajari and defending WRC2 winner Emil Lindholm stand out as Solberg’s most formidable rivals.

Pajari, like Solberg, was meant to compete in the Monte for extra (non-points scoring) seat time but was sidelined by food poisoning. Even though Lindholm hasn’t raced yet this season, he is familiar with the new Fabia because he was one of four test and development drivers.

However, I wouldn’t assume it’ll be a koda cakewalk. Ole Christian Veiby, who was blazingly fast in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 a year ago, makes his maiden WRC start in the same car with a new co-driver, navigator Torstein Eriksen (from Andreas Mikkelsen’s team).

Teemu Suninen, a former rally leader in Sweden who drives for Hyundai, and Jari Huttunen, a fellow Finn who will drive an older spec koda Fabia R5, are both strong contenders.
Also worth keeping an eye on is our WRC3 champion Lauri Joona, who is competing in Sweden as part of the Finnish program for his Fabia Rally2 evo, and Junior WRC champion Robert Virves, who is behind the wheel of the lone Ford Fiesta Rally2 at the rally.

  • Junior World Rally Championship

A new Junior WRC season has begun, and while there is only one Fiesta Rally2, the entry is full of Ford Rally3s.
The most seasoned competitor is William Creighton, while Grégoire Munster, Junior ERC champion Laurent Pellier, and Diego Dominguez Jr. are all right behind him in the entry list.

Although he will be driving a lower-class vehicle than the Rally2 Fiesta he piloted in the Monte Carlo Rally, Munster’s admission is noteworthy because he hopes to gain experience and knowledge of WRC events.

Championship debuts for Eamonn Kelly, Ral Hernández Hernández, Tom Rensonnet, Roberto Blach Nez, and Hamza Anwar.
The overwhelming majority of JWRC participants have also signed up for WRC3. Top RC3 seed Roope Korhonen and his Finnish countryman Toni Herranen are two of the drivers competing in WRC3 but not JWRC.

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