HRH Prince Carl Philip's opening speech at Rally Sweden
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am so happy to be here in Värmland for Rally Sweden again.
70 years ago, in 1950, when the first Rally Sweden took place, it was called “The Swedish Rally to the Midnight Sun”.
Since it is the 70th Anniversary, here are some fun facts:
The Rally then started in 3 different places; Stockholm, Gothenburg and in the south of Sweden; Falsterbo.
The first winner ever, Per-Fredrik Cederbaum, drove 2000 kilometres in his BMW before he finally reached the goal in Kiruna in the north of Sweden.
In many ways, today’s Rally Sweden is different from the 1950’s Rally. What used to be a summer event is, since 1965, a winter festival.
The very first winner of the winter rally was Tom Trana in his Volvo PV.
He was followed by other classic rally legends like Björn Waldegårdh who drove a Porsche 911 and a Lancia, Stig Blomqvist in his SAAB 99 and his Audi Quattro, Marcus Grönholm in a Peugeot 206 and a Ford,
Petter Solberg who drove a Subaru and finally Sebastian Loeb in a Citroën Xsara – to name a few- who all took home the victory in Rally Sweden.
And who knows what new stars will rise to fame here this year?
While much has changed, one thing has stayed the same: the love for this sport.
I really hope that this year’s Rally Sweden will be extraordinary and exciting for all of us.
To all the drivers: good luck in the competition. May the best team and driver win!
And to all of you spectators: Take care of each other and be safe out there.
Now, I am happy to declare Rally Sweden open.