Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team will be out to defend their manufacturers’ championship lead when they head to Spain for the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship this week.
For Ott Tänak it also offers an opportunity to refocus his late-season bid for the drivers’ title, following his disappointment last time out on Wales Rally GB. He said: “We still have a chance in the drivers’ championship and we are not going to give up. In a way it is more straightforward now – we just have to win the last two rallies and see what happens.”
Rally España presents a special challenge as it is the only genuine two-surface event in the calendar, with stages on both gravel and asphalt. Tänak is ready for the test: “I can be confident about our performance on both gravel and asphalt, as we have been strong on both surfaces recently. Still, we are always trying to improve and we had a good pre-event test where we were able to work on some things to make everything as good as possible before the rally.”
The rally is based in the seaside resort of Salou on the Costa Dorada, south of Barcelona. Friday’s action takes place on medium-speed gravel stages, followed by two days of competition on faster asphalt roads. At the end of Friday’s running, the teams have to convert their cars from gravel to asphalt specification in an extended evening service period.
The rally will begin with a spectator street stage in the Montjuïc area of Barcelona. On Friday a sequence of three stages will be run twice, mostly on gravel but with some asphalt sections in the course of the 24-mile La Fatarella-Vilalba test. Saturday has two loops of three asphalt stages, followed by a short stage in Salou itself. On Sunday the Riudecanyes and Santa Marina stages are run twice, separated by service, with the second pass of Santa Marina as the rally-ending Power Stage.
Pictures will be uploaded here during the event