WRC Rally Spain
Nestled into the northeast corner of Spain lies the province of Catalonia, a historically significant area that plays host to the Rally de Espana. An autonomous Spanish state that has been ruled at various times by the Romans, Moors, and Visigoths (among others), the WRC holds an annual rally here that attracts racing enthusiasts from around the world.
This year's event is scheduled for October 22-24 and will be hosted by the city of Salou. This coastal city is located on the Costa Daurada on the Mediterranean Sea and is a tourism mecca that fuels the economy's engine.
The Rally de Espana, formerly known as the Rally Catalunya, is a three-day affair that covers 350km. The WRC holds road rallies that cover a variety of surfaces, but this is the only true asphalt surface on the tour. The roads in the mountains are fast and wide, allowing drivers to cut corners which results in dirt and debris on the course that hampers navigation throughout the latter part of the day. Road surfaces will change within the various race stages, so tire selection is very important in this rally, as a fraction of a second is the difference between winning and losing.
The WRC actually crowns two champions, driver and manufacturer. Sebastian Loeb is the defending six-time world champion that has won this event the last five years. The former Alsace gymnast has been partnered with co-driver Daniel Elena since 2003, driving a Citroen C4 WRC vehicle. Loeb, holder of the Legion d'honneur, has won 56 of the 128 rallies he has entered and made the podium another 29 times. Citroen has been the manufacturer world champion five of the last seven years with their C4 WRC vehicle. Loeb is very strong on asphalt, so look for a repeat in 2010.