FIA RallyRACC Rally de Espana Preview

World Rally Championship contenders head to Spain for the only dual surface event of the season.

Rally de España, the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, is based in the tourist resort of Salou, south of Barcelona, and is the only event on the calendar featuring gravel and asphalt stages. This year is also the 50th running of the event and various celebrations will be taking place to mark this historic occasion.

After the curtain-raising stage in Barcelona on Thursday evening, the first full day of competition on Friday will be run predominantly on gravel stages in the hills of Tarragona. Overnight, the teams will swap the cars from gravel to Tarmac specification during a longer service period to run Saturday and Sunday entirely on asphalt roads.

The battle for the World Championship will continue in Spain with Sébastien Ogier looking to secure a second consecutive title and Jari-Matti Latvala fighting for his first. The FIA WRC 2 Championship contenders are also out in force, with no fewer than 18 crews on the entry list as the fight for this support Championship title also nears its conclusion. Just two FIA WRC 3 Championship crews are on the entry list for Rally de España.

Stage 1 (Barcelona) and Stage 17 (Riudecanyes), which is also the closing Power Stage, will be broadcast live on the international feed.

THE 2014 ROUTE

The 2014 route will be largely familiar to the crews with identical stages being run to those in 2012 and 2013, some with minor modifications. The 50 kilometre Escaladei stage celebrates the rally’s 50th edition and is the longest in the event’s history featuring some roads not used since 2002. The only totally new stage is in Barcelona on Thursday. This all-asphalt 3.20 kilometre street stage will run in the Montjuïc area of the Catalan city.

RALLY DATA

Total distance: 1,391.53 kmStage distance: 372.96 km (26.80%)Number of stages: 17