At Rally Sweden, monster jumps wow enormous crowds

With big crowds and big air, Scandinavia shows us the best way to battle the cold on the last day of Rally Sweden.

WRC Rally Sweden jumps
Chris Cantle
With big crowds and big air, Scandinavia shows us the best way to battle the cold on the last day of Rally Sweden.
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Rally Sweden 2015
It's only the second race of the WRC season, but Rally Sweden always manages plenty of drama for legions of hardcore fans that brave the freezing cold and snow. Already in Sweden for business, we took the opportunity to catch the last stage of the rally.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Rally Sweden is the only ice event on the WRC calendar. 
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Rally Sweden 2015
Held in remote rolling pine forests east of Stockholm, I was astonished by the size of the crowds attending the rally.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Sweden is huge, and to a foreigner all the forest looks the same. You know you're near the rally when the opposing traffic gets exotic.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Just minutes later you can see the same rally cars clearing massive jumps.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Or skittering sideways over snow and ice.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Proximity has to be a big draw. Every car through the course dusts the crowd with ice.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Traction is extraordinary, thanks to thin and radically spiked Michelin snow snow tires.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Staying comfortable means lots of layers, camping fires, warm food and good company.
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Rally Sweden 2015
This is a typical spread at Rally Sweden. A little wood fire cooking sausages and heating a kettle. 
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Rally Sweden 2015
All that is abandoned when cars are on course.
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Rally Sweden 2015
The Power Stage Arena hosts the last dash to the finish, down a ski slope and in the open carved from thick timber forests.
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Rally Sweden 2015
For a snow rally neophyte like me, seeing the braking and cornering forces WRC cars are able to achieve in conditions that I avoid like that plague was simply inspiring.
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Rally Sweden 2015
On sharp snow studs and with an able driver at the helm, cornering speeds really aren't much slower than they would be on tarmac.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Later cars through the stage have ruts to rail through. Those ruts minimize the giant snow roost you'd expect to see through a corner, and again, provide great traction.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Which leads to spectacular launches.
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Rally Sweden 2015
Sebastian Ogier takes his second WRC win of the year after race leader Thierry Neuville spun his car in the final stage, narrowly missing his first WRC win.
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Rally Sweden 2015
The sun came out just in time to turn the course over to the fantastic WRC 2 series. We don't catch these cars on the TV in the US, but the series has almost as much action as the top-class series.
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