Snow in Saturday’s mountain special stages could add extra spice to this weekend’s FIA World Rally Championship finale at ACI Rally Monza.
The roads in the foothills of the Italian Alps, near Lake Como, were white when competitors practised them on Wednesday, and more wintry weather is due ahead of the second leg.
Friday’s forecast indicates snow falling above 600 metres, which could affect large parts of Saturday’s stages. The day’s high point is in the 22.17km Costa Valle Imagna stage, which climbs to 1340 metres above sea level, while the opening Selvino test tops 1100 metres.
Up to 40cm of snow has been predicted but as temperatures rise during the day, it remains unclear how much will melt.
“On Friday, there will be a huge amount of precipitation. Whether it’s snow or rain is not completely clear, but there might be some snow on top of the mountains.
“From the last forecast we have for Saturday, it’s supposed to get a bit warmer so there might be water, but we don’t know how much snow will still be there or whether it will be slushy. At the moment it’s impossible to predict and our gravel crew will have a difficult job.”
The snow threat piles the pressure on a competitor’s weather [gravel] crew. They drive the stages before they start to check conditions and advise pace note updates and tyre choice.
Their information on Saturday could make all the difference to the outcome of this year’s WRC title fight….
Full coverage from ACI Rally Monza is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.