|Norwegian motorsport fans were jubilant when Rally Norway achieved WRC status for 2007. Competition is keen around the world to host a round in the World Rally Championships, and this is the first time one is being held in Norway. The world's rally elite will compete for three days in February, in midwinter conditions, on 18 spectacular stages totalling 1128 kilometres through forest and mountain areas between Kongsvinger and Lillehammer.
The narrow winter roads through the Norwegian forests provide a tough test for car and driver. About 100,000 spectators lining the routes will witness the speed, drama and excitement of the race. Speeds can be as high 200 km/h. Between 50 and 70 million television viewers will watch the WRC round and, in addition to fast cars and fearless drivers, they will be shown views of Norway's beautiful winter scenery. In Norway, rallying is organised by the Norwegian Automobile-Sport Federation, which was founded in 1932. It was reorganised under the direction of Norway's automobile clubs (KNA, NAF and MA) and given its present name in 1984. The Federation also organises rally cross, Formula K, drag racing, offroad and tractor-pulling events. About 5,500 drivers (licensees) are associated with the Federation through their motor clubs. It was KNA, the Royal Norwegian Automobile Club, that started car racing in Norway. The club was founded in 1907 and it arranged Norway's first car race in 1912 - on the ice-bound Bunnefjord south of Oslo. Ten thousand spectators came to watch the event, far exceeding the expectations of the organisers. In the ensuing chaos, the race had to be cancelled. The club was criticised in the Kristiania (Oslo) press for advertising the race too well!