Rally Spain has become one of the most popular events on the World Rally Championship calendar since its introduction in 1991. The event is based in the popular tourist destination, Salou, and so is perfectly situated to host the hordes of fans each year.
The rally has been famous as a dual-surface event with crews taking on gravel stages on Rally Spain’s opening day before two days of Tarragona’s pristine tarmac roads. For 2021, Rally Spain will be an all-asphalt affair so competitors will have to be at their best on the unique racetrack-like sealed surface stages.
Few dramas come greater in the WRC’s history than that of Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz’s Spanish duel in 1995. When McRae was told by team boss David Richards to resist the temptation of making a rally-winning charge on the final, it fell on deaf ears. McRae instead pushed on ahead of his Spanish team-mate and title rival Carlos Sainz. McRae arrived at the finish ahead on the timesheets but was “encouraged” by the Subaru boss to take a deliberate penalty. Sainz was the rally winner. The two Subaru rivals travelled to the season deciding RAC Rally level on points. And as they say, the rest is history.
Theirry Neuville won the most recent event back in 2019 but one driver stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to Rally Spain. Sebastien Loeb.
Loeb is a nine-time Rally Spain winner, claiming eight back-to-back victories between 2005 and 2012 before capping off his WRC comeback in 2018 with yet another win.
The Frenchman’s record helps Citroen dominant the Rally Spain records in a similar fashion. Wins claimed by Philippe Bugalski in 1999 and Kris Meeke in 2017 top-up the manufacturer’s Spanish successes to a remarkable 11.
The 2021 edition is due to take place on 14-17 October.