Rally Sweden has ended and drivers admitted it was an unique experience. From 70 started crews, 27 had to retire. The most challenging was Wolf Power Stage Likenas 2, which required 20 drivers to finish their rally in the last stage.
First day leader Arnas Kerbelys was also included between the unlucky ones. Lithuanian had little bit more than 6 seconds lead over Adrian Klimas, but second day started not as he planed. He had a big spin in SS5 and broke rear suspension which probably led to a roll over in the next stage so Arnas had to retire in SS6. Differently to Arnas, second day was like perfect for Adrian Klimas. Pole started the day by setting the identical SS5 time with his countryman Mateusz Przyszlakowski and later won SS6 and SS7, which let him to build a 20 seconds advantage against the same Mateusz before last days Power Stage. Meanwhile 3rd place was taken by Remus Diaconescu, he was just 7.79 seconds behind Mateusz. The final day had the one and only stage, but what a stage that was. Soaking wet gravel road of more than 20 kilometers, current Open RBR-LT WRC champion Juan Marzoa was the fastest one there and took additional 5 points to his 18 points for a second place. Yes, Juan took 2nd place in Rally Sweden after being 5th in day two and just 9th in first day. "I don't know this stage, the last two kilometers became eternal... Thanks organizers!!",- that's how champ can drive. This means Mateusz Przyszlakowski is dropped down to 3rd place after very safe drive on last stage,- "My left foot is tired. (smiles) All time on brake. (laughs) Very safe driving, I want to finished this rally. (smiles) Thanks!". And finally the finish line was crossed by Adrian Kimas, 5th place in Wolf Power Stage and 1st place overall with almost 40 seconds lead. What a performance by privateer Ford Fiesta WRC driver,- "I drove this stage for the first time of my life, so take it safe. My co-driver Phill Mills does a great job here. (winks) One big off and lost about 10 seconds, but OK I'm on the finish. Thanks for a great rally! See you (winks)".
Gedvis Ralistaz continued his amazing stability show in WRC 2 category on day two. Lithuanian didn't won a single stage but was still leading after day two, his best results in second day was two 3rd places in SS6 and SS7. Gedvis even increased his lead to 18 seconds over Marek Wezowski who stayed in his 2nd place. Vilius Šaltenis and Arūnas Gylys who were 3rd and 4th after first day had some mistakes in SS6 and dropped down a bit letting Echedei Benitez and Ignas Augustonis took their places. These two guys was flying on second day. Benitez took stage wins in SS6 and SS8 and Ignas was fastest in SS7. But again the last day was game changer here. Echedei Benitez took a win in SS9 while Gedvis Ralistaz lost almost 25 seconds finishing 3rd in this stage. This was enough for Echedei to eliminate Gedvis 22 seconds advantage and Spaniard took the rally win by just 1.94 sec over Lithuanian. "With too many cautions in some zones. Have to used the reverse, lost about 5 seconds. good rally finally. Thanks organizers",- Benitez word after finish. Vilius Šaltenis lost 1min and 47sec in last stage for rally winner, but still managed to get back his 3rd place as many other crashed in those hardcore conditions. Pavel Sidorov finished 4th just 1.61sec behind Vilius, what a seconds rally in WRC 2 category.
Jyrki Niemela was destroying everybody in JUNIOR WRC by taking three more stage wins in second day and building 1min 38.87sec advantage. The leader trio in this class remained the same, Jyrki first, Enzo Sagrera 2nd and Darius Mackevičius 3rd, until the last day. Jyrki was trying to survive last stage and lost 38 seconds to stage winner Pablo Sancez, of course this didn't changed much and Finn took his first win this season. Nazaryi Lebed is quite familiar with Likenas stage so he showed 2nd best result there and cut down a lot time from his opponents above which let him to climb on 2nd place fro 4th. Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Enzo Sagrera was forced to satisfy with 3rd place and Darius Mackevičius was edged out from top 3 to 4th place,
We probably won't see such a tiny gaps and seconds battle between drivers in any other event this season. These short rallies shows us how high the competition level is and how unpredictable results can be. Of course the big factor here was an unique road conditions as it was an unique experience for all competitors. We will see what Mexico will bring next.