One of the biggest events in the Swedish sporting calendar, The Rally of Sweden, gets underway in Karlstad this evening, before heading off into the frozen forests of Värmland.
The Rally of Sweden is the only winter event in the World Rally Championship and is also unique in that it takes place in two countries, Sweden and Norway.
Thousands of spectators will converge on the forests of Värmland for the four days of rallying, and Sara Johansson, a reporter and presenter with Swedish Radio’s local station, P4 Värmland, says the outdoor conditions provide a challenge, not just for the drivers, but those watching as well.
“It is the rally that is the roughest for the spectators, it might be windy, rainy or there’s heavy snow, it might be -25 degrees Celsius, but people still turn up in their thousands, and they love it, it’s a real party out there,” she says to Radio Sweden.
P4 Värmland goes rally crazy during the week, broadcasting live from every stage and going behind the scenes at the numerous activities taking place in daylight hours and in the evening. The radio station has also produced a rally song, which has become something of a tradition for the past dozen or so years.
The Rally of Sweden, which provides a real boost for the local economy of Värmland, receives its grand official opening at Färjestadstravet – the local trotting course, in Karlstad this evening. The rally cars will compete in heats on the trotting track in a special stage before the proper stuff in the snow-filled forests gets underway on Friday. The drivers completed their final practice runs, known as, ‘the Shakedown’ on Thursday morning. One photographer reportedly injured and taken to hospital after being hit by a rally car.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Hockey diplomacy livens up Finland – Canada state visit, Yle News
Greenland: 2016 Arctic Winter Games to cut 6 sports, CBC News
Norway: Surfing in the Arctic, Barents Observer
Russia: Big hockey weekend for Eye on the Arctic community, Eye on the Arctic
Sweden: Minecraft co-founder to sponsor hockey team in Sweden’s Far North, Radio Sweden
United States: Passport troubles keep some athletes from Arctic Winter Games in Alaska, CBC News