image351321326.jpgThe next round of the IRC in Russia kicks off on Thursday. Based in Vyborg less than 100 km from the Finnish border the stages are similiar to the classic Finnish stages but flatter.The stages are mostly gravel but can break up and expose sharp rocks which can puncture tyres.Tyre choice will be important and the rally should favour the gravel specialists like Anton Allen and Juho Hanninen.Both Anton and Juho have won Rally Russia before.First car on the road is Hanninen followed by Giandomenico Basso in his Abarth Grande Punto.Abarth should be strong in Russia after their recent test and with the return of AntonThe teams start their recce of the stages to create their pace notes today and Wednesday before the rally start on Thursday.Thursday sees the rally start with the ceremonial start at 19:00 before the first stage at 19:30 local time. There are 4 stages on Thursday before the rally halts for the night at 23:40. Therefore the crews will also run stages at night.Friday the crews face 6 stages made up of two identical loops of three stages. They will also run through the 29.31 km Topolki stage the most challenging of the rally.The rally finishes on Saturday after 5 stages are completed at 15:00 local time.There will be no European Peugeot S2000s in Russia only a local entered car driven by Aleksandr Zheludov. It will be his first drive of a 207 S2000.Ex British Rally Champion Guy Wilks will be in Russia in his Proton but is unlikely to challenge the factory Skodas and Abarths.The Driver Standings going into Russia are:1 - Kris Meeke Peugeot 207 - 302 - Freddy Loix Peugeot 207 - 243 - Jan Kopecky Skoda Fabia - 21Peugeot lead the manufacturers standings.Follow the rally on Eurosport and at www.rallyrussia.comWho is your money on for the win?