Dusty is out on the road, and has lended the responsibility of this Fantasy WRC preview to the local expert village idiot.

After the regular Ogier-winning start of the season in Monte Carlo, Tell a Finn and Hermann took the early lead in our championship while others felt the wraith of Monte with several of their favourites crashing out. Let’s move on to more familiar surroundings in Sweden and Norway please.

Since last years rally were threatened by thawing roads and little to no snow, the organizers have moved the rally further north and higher up in the terrain. Reports say that there is a good ice cover on the roads, and snow has started to fall on the stages. There is still time for more of that to come, and the rally should go on as planned as cold temperatures are expected. The service park is set in the rural town of Torsby, current home of Petter Solberg and the place to stock up on essentials before watching motor racing.

The rally starts thursday night with the super special stage in Karlstad, though we rarely see much being decided here. Friday sees three stages set in Norway, including the returning Svullrya where Ogier and Mikkelsen water-planed last year. Saturday is set in Sweden with the famous Vargåsen with the even more famous spectator arena Colins Crest, and the long stage Knon which should be new for most of the drivers. The last day of the rally sees the return of the Likenäs stage, and the action-providing Torsby stage as the final power stage.

As for the drivers we see two exciting additions to the entry list. Mads Østberg has gone back to managing things with his own team, driving an M-Sport built Fiesta. We’ve all heard how Ott Tänak described last years car (and seen how he drove it in Monte), so we could expect improvement from Mads too. After all, he has 5 podiums in Sweden the last 6 years. Henning Solberg is once again on a start list, but made a last minute entry change to a Fabia R5. We will not see Andreas Mikkelsen in this rally, as the deadline came too fast for the 2017 Polo to be homologated and a 2016 Polo would be underpowered (!) for this high speed rally. During testing we’ve seen Toyota pick up their pace, Østberg wasting no time, Meeke crashing and Meeke’s driver crashing. Ouch.

You can pick drivers from the complete entry list, and you can pick up to two drivers from each team. Don’t forget to pick one driver for the power stage points too! All top class drivers are listed below. And while you’re at it, you can also look at the driver’s data and statistics here.

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M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM - FORD FIESTA WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10: 18.1 Avg SWE: 17.5
Ott Tänak (EST) - Avg last 10: 7.6 Avg SWE: 8.0
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10: 5.6 Avg SWE: 4.0

HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT - HYUNDAI I20 COUPE WRC
Hayden Paddon (NZL) - Avg last 10: 7.9 Avg SWE: 14.0
Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10: 12.7 Avg SWE: 5.6
Dani Sordo (ESP) - Avg last 10: 10.8 Avg SWE: 4.0

CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT - CITROËN C3 WRC/DS3 WRC
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg last 10: 8.8 Avg SWE: 2.3
Craig Breen (IRL) - Avg last 10: 5.3 Avg SWE: 3.0
Stephane Lefebvre* - Avg last 10: 2.0 Avg SWE: N/A

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TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10: 9.2 Avg SWE: 13.0
Juho Hänninen (FIN) - Avg last 10: 3.6 Avg SWE: 4.0

INDEPENDENTS AND SINGLE CAR TEAMS
Mads Østberg (NOR), Ford Fiesta WRC - Avg last 10: 6.0 Avg SWE: 11.9
Valeriy Gorban* (UKR), Mini Countryman WRC - Avg last 10: 0.1 Avg SWE: 0.0
Lorenzo Bertelli* (ITA), Ford Fiesta WRC - Avg last 10: 0.5 Avg SWE: 0.0

*Not 2017 specification WRC.