Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier has called for Rally Sweden to be cancelled this weekend as he feels the majority of the conditions are unsafe to race on.
The traditionally snowy event has come under sustained pressure after warm weather has melted snow and ice across Scandinavia, with Ogier stating the paths in Sweden are completely bare of snow and ice. The problem this causes is with studded tyres the WRC challengers will thrash out and damage the public roads without a protective layer of ice.
Rally Sweden has already seen eight stages slashed from the itinerary while the shakedown has also been cancelled so the recce can take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
Speaking to local newspaper Varmlands Folkblad
the Volkswagen Motorsport driver, a two-time winner in Sweden, says it isn't safe to run the revised rally and feels it should be cancelled.
"The only routes we can run are in Norway. We can run a short sprint rally there, that's okay, but the rest is a gravel rally and it would be completely unsafe to try,” Ogier said to Varmlands Folkblad. “If we try to run the race, we'll lose the studs immediately and then it becomes really dangerous. I do not understand why we're conducting the recce. We are destroying the roads for no reason.”
Ogier says he sympathises with WRC promoters and event organisers who have desperately tried to get the event on schedule but feels safety should be the paramount concern.
"I know it's a really difficult decision for everyone, but it's simply not possible to run this time. I'm sorry for all the trouble it would mean, but it would be too dangerous to try to drive on gravel roads where the studded tyres are not suited."
Earlier this month the European Rally Championship opener in Latvia, Rally Liepaja, had to be cancelled due to the same lack of snow and ice and has since been rescheduled for mid-September.