The 2019 edition of the Rally Catalunya is due to start in the next hours. Nine different stages will be used, three on gravel and six on tarmac, what gives the event its unique character of a mixed-surface event.
We already reviewed in a previous post the impact of a mixed-surface event on the aero performance of WRC cars.
In this post we will review, the characteristics of each single stage and the significance of the aero in the results. The analysis is based on the excellent information provided by Antti’s website itgetsfasternow.com, and his very detailed route preview (to be found here).
First post corresponds to sections 1 & 2 (gravel stages). During the next days we will publish the remaining stages.
SS1/4 Gandesa (7 km)
Quite technical stage regardless of the constant alternating between fast and slow sections.
Last year speed average: 97,1/98,9 km/h
Aero review: medium speed gravel stage, where aero will play a modest role. In addition, this year average might be lower due to wet terrain after Tuesday torrential rain.
SS2/5 Horta-Bot (19 km)
The fastest gravel stage of the event, with expected average speeds over 110 km/h… mostly driven on medium wide, quite soft and sandy gravel roads… with only some technical places thrown in.
Last year speed average: 109,2/112,3 km/h
Aero review: fast gravel stage, where aero will play a significant role, specially upper aero (dive planes, winglets and rear wing), while undercar aero will continue to be impacted by increased ride height and suspension softening.
SS3/6 La Fatarella – Vilalba (38,85 km)
Longest gravel stage with a long smooth tarmac section in the middle in addition to a few shorter and narrower paved bits, which means constant changes of grip.
Last year average speed: 86,3/88,9 km/h
Aero review: the slowest gravel stage of the event, with the additional difficulty of tarmac and concrete. It will be probably also the most damaged by rain, making it even slower. All together makes it the less aero-dependent of the weekend.
No rain expected. Sunny and windy, which will contribute to dry the gravel roads…. at least the top layer. Maybe, after some the pass of some competitors, wet terrain might re-emerge.
Useful information for spectators