The 2010 World Rally Championship gets underway with Rally Sweden on Thursday evening. Here is a preview of what lies ahead.

Citroen Total
Citroen retain their driver lineup of Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo. Loeb is the reigning six-time champion and will be looking to add number seven. Sordo is still chasing that elusive first victory. However quick on tarmac, he's not as quick as his teammate, although could have won in Spain last year if he had been allowed to. It may therefore be easier for him to win on gravel, when Loeb or Hirvonen have problems.

BP Ford
Ford retain the Finnish lineup of the ever-improving Mikko Hirvonen and the fast but inconsistent Jari-Matti Latvala. After running Loeb so close in 2009, the only aim for Hirvonen is to win the title. To do this he must be quicker, there is no other way. He needs to make sure he can continue his impressive finishing record at the same time. Latvala meanwhile needs to turn the flashes of speed into more consistent results, while supporting Hirvonen. Khalid Al-Qassimi will also be driving for the team once again.

Stobart Ford
The Ford B-team is made up of Matt Wilson and Henning Solberg. While Wilson is very consistent, regularly scoring points, he lacks the speed to challenge for podium finishes. Solberg scored two podiums finishes last year, and will be looking to continue the improvement on tarmac he showed last year. Marcus Gronholm will drive for the team in Sweden, and will be challenging for a podium.

Citroen Junior
Sebastien Ogier remains with the team for a second season, and is joined by F1-convert Kimi Raikkonen. Ogier's aim will be to add consistency to the speed he showed at times last year and give the big boys something else to worry about. It will be a steep learning curve for Raikkonen, who showed promise in a Super 2000 Abarth Fiat on his home event last year.

The rest
Munchi's Ford will return for another season with Federico Villagra at the helm, who scored two fourth-placed finishes in 2009. Petter Solberg has his hands on a Citroen C4 for his own team, and will be looking for regular podiums and to be able to challenge for wins in places. Young Norwegian Mads Ostberg takes the unusual approach of replacing his 2008 Subaru Impreza with an older model. US internet sensation Ken Block makes his WRC debut in the Monster Ford on Rally Mexico.

Support categories
2010 sees the addition of a new category to the WRC - the Super 2000 class, or S-WRC. Reigning J-WRC champion Martin Prokop, former P-WRC champion Nasser Al-Attiyah and ex-Citroen driver Xavi Pons will be amongst the favourites driving Ford's new S2000 Fiesta that will be used in the main category next year. In Skoda Fabias are Patrick Sandell and Eyvind Brynildson. Armindo Araujo will be attempting to retain his P-WRC crown, while a new crop of drivers will be attempting to take Prokop's J-WRC title.

14 Feb - Sweden
7 Mar - Mexico
4 Apr - Jordan
18 Apr - Turkey
9 May - New Zealand
30 May - Portugal
10 Jul - Bulgaria
1 Aug - Finland
22 Aug - Germany
12 Sep - Japan
3 Oct - France
24 Oct - Spain
14 Nov - Great Britain

You can follow the action by following us on Twitter @Frontofthegrid. Click here to vote in our poll on who you think will win Rally Sweden.

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