And then of course there’s the length of the events. Although the time period in which they span is broadly similar, the competitive distance on offer has greatly reduced over the past couple of decades.

Let’s refer back to the 2002 and 2022 Montes for a moment. This year’s rally will provide drivers with 183.95 miles of competitive rallying, but 20 years ago the previous generation were getting their teeth stuck into 241.33 stage miles. That’s effectively like adding a fourth leg to this year’s event.

The difference is more stark on other events too. Take the Safari for example, where in 2002 the event was 433 miles longer than its return in 2021 – more than double the length of the most recent Safari.

The ultimate knock-on effect of all this is that each corner on a rally has become more important, simply because there are fewer of them. And the extensive archive of online material now available – chiefly on WRC+, which features onboards from every stage of every rally since 2014 – means pre-event homework has changed.

“I don’t think he’s doing the most compared to maybe many others but you have to learn all the other stuff in a very good way and you see also [Kalle] Rovanperä is doing a fantastic job and a lot of young drivers are there now, so it depends what you like.”

Petter’s point about becoming “lazy” and remembering stages is quite pertinent, and is something reigning WRC2 and European Rally Champion Andreas Mikkelsen admitted on one of his YouTube videos last year that he had tried to kick from his system. He had got to the point where he tried to learn stages by heart and was sleep deprived as a result, which negatively impacted his performance.

Oliver is more old school than most others of his age – perhaps that’s boosted by the nostalgia and wonder of what his dad, mum Pernilla, and uncle Henning all did in rally cars – so is he happy competing in an era where everything has to be so inch-perfect? Or would he rather rallying was a bit more like it used to be with bigger gaps and less familiarity?

“These days it’s maybe more attack, flat-out on every single stage, being a perfectionist in every single corner compared to the early days – which is very cool, which I like. But again, I still like these long, classic rallies which are fantastic to do, with more different stages where you can make a difference with your notes,” he responds.

This content was originally published here.