As we close in on the end of 2016, it's time to look back at the biggest moments across the motorsport world - for better or for worse - over the last 12 months.

Rally Sweden melts in unseasonably warm weather

Unless your name is Trump and recently became the next President of the United States, you'll know global warming is having an adverse effect on the world and that spread into motorsport in February.

WRC's traditional all snow and ice event Rally Sweden lost almost half of its total race distance due to warmer weather melting the snow and ice tracks in the region. As a result, eight stages were cancelled and others shortened on safety grounds with slushy condition bogging up roads while WRC cars equipped with ice tyres would destroy the uncovered public roads.

Rally Sweden was eventually completed, albeit over 100km shorter than the planned 331.21km route, and won by reigning champion Sebastien Ogier. Still, it was even worse for FIA European Rally championship organisers who saw its season opener in Latvia cancelled due to the warm weather!

First published: 8th February 2016

Rally Sweden slashes stages due to warm weather

Rally Sweden organisers have been forced to cancel eight stages on safety grounds with the revised itinerary avoiding large sections of public roads.

The traditionally all-snow event, which is set to host the second round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship on the 11-14 February, has been monitored closely by organisers after higher than average temperatures across Scandinavia has seen ice and snow melt in huge volumes with large pools of muddy slush bogging up routes.

It is feared if WRC cars were to thrash on the thawed-out public roads it would cause damage to road surfaces making it unsafe for both competitors and recovery vehicles and as a result organisers have heavily modified the route.

Organisers have submitted a revised route to teams with the 21 scheduled stages reduced to 13 and the competitive distance cut from 331.21km to 241.48km.

Thursday's Super Special Stage Karlstad opener has been scrapped while both loops on Kirkenaer [SS5 and SS6] is also cancelled. The recce has been moved to Wednesday and Thursday while the shakedown has also been called off. The historic rally has also been binned.

Saturday morning's Rammen stage has been cancelled but will remain in the afternoon itinerary while Fredriksberg will be driven in the morning but not afternoon. The short Hagfors Sprint stage has been also been scrapped.

Finally, Sunday will only see a single pass through Lesj?fors and the live TV V?rmulls?sen Power Stage.

Studded tyres will still be compulsory in the recce and the rally despite concerns spikes would damage the defrosted roads and make them unusable.

Clerk of the Course Rune Kjernsli had previously stated that safety is paramount for the FIA and WRC Promoters and the changes have been made to minimise any risk to competitors, race officials and fans.

"It is first and foremost the safety of the competitors and the spectators that decides if a stage is run or not," he said. "If we find the road dangerous we cannot use it."

Last weekend the FIA European Rally championship season opener Rally Liepaja in Latvia had to be cancelled a week in advance due to warm conditions defrosting roads and making the event unsafe to run.


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