For the first time in the modern history of the World Rally Championship, the shakedown stage of the Catalunya Rally will form part of the competitive route.
In previous years, the shakedown test – a short stage run a day ahead of the start to offer the teams a final check over the cars – has always been run away from the route. But, following a suggestion to the FIA from Catalunya Rally organizers RACC, the Salou-based event will break new ground when it runs from October 1-4.
Shakedown in Spain will include the first 4.32 km of the Riudecanyes stage, which runs competitively (in its 16km entirety) twice on the final day of the penultimate round of this year's WRC.
A spokesman from the RACC said: "Using part of the real stages for shakedown will be another contribution to the continuous cost-reduction battle."
The leading drivers all have to complete at least two runs at shakedown between their allotted time of 08:00 and 10:00 – but there is now likely to be an increased enthusiasm from the drivers to complete as many runs at shakedown as possible, using it as the chance to fine-tune pace notes.