Rally Catalunya - Rally de España with a very mixed ground
The Costa Daurada, south of Barcelona, hosts the 11th round of the 2017 WRC (where many teams involved are equipped by BMC). The holiday resort of Salou remains the base town and accommodates the service area at the PortAventura theme park.
After Thursday evening’s seafront start ceremony, the action begins on Friday with a predominantly gravel leg in the hills to the west, which is unchanged from 2016.
The dirt road Caseres and Bot special stages are followed by Terra Alta, the longest of the event, which contains frequent surface changes as it blends gravel with asphalt. A morning loop is repeated in the afternoon after service in Salou.
An extended 75-minute Friday night service enables mechanics to transform cars from gravel to asphalt trim ahead of two days of sealed surfaces over the weekend.
Saturday follows a similar format as two loops of three morning stages north-east of Salou are driven for a second time in the afternoon. It includes two fresh tests, El Pont d’Armentera, which reverses the 2016 Querol stage, and Savallà, which is brand new.
The longest leg of the rally at 121.86km ends with the fan favourite stage along Salou seafront in late afternoon.
Sunday’s finale has been toughened, with three stages close to Salou driven twice without service. It includes the popular Riudecanyes, complete with its famous ‘doughnut’ roundabout, but in a format not used since 2013.
It was a year earlier since Santa Marina followed this year’s configuration and it forms the live TV Power Stage, with vital bonus points for the fastest five drivers.
The 19 stages cover 312.02km in a total route of 1297.62km.
BMC News, International Online Magazine