WRC - Event Preview - Rally Italia Sardegna | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC - Event Preview - Rally Italia Sardegna

  • gb
27.05.22

WRC stars prepare to bust more dust at Rally Italia Sardegna from June 2-5.

2020 WRC - Rally Italia Sardegna - E. Evans/S. Martin (photo Paulo Maria / DPPI)

The dust might still be settling following an epic Vodafone Rally de Portugal last weekend, but with the pace never relenting in the FIA World Rally Championship, it’s off to Sardinia for Italy’s WRC counter from June 2-5.

Marking the second consecutive WRC event on gravel this season, Rally Italia Sardegna provides a test of car and crew of Portuguese proportions – only harder.

That’s because the ambient and ground temperatures are expected to be hotter than they were in Portugal, while the narrow nature of the loose-surface roads is even more apparent on the Mediterranean island.

But not only are the roads narrow, rough and tough, they’re also lined with rocks and trees. Aligned with a hard base and soft sandy surface, plus the threat of hanging dust, there’s no such thing as an easy stage in Sardinia.

Road position is also a factor, with drivers running further down the order benefitting from cleaner and more stable stage conditions in the event of warm and dry weather.

Back in the westerly seaside resort of Alghero after a year away last season in Olbia, once the event’s former long-term home, the 2022 edition of Rally Italia Sardegna pays homage to its old home with an all-new mixed-surface stage opening the action in Olbia next Thursday evening.

While Portugal celebrated the return of legends Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier – plus the start of the WRC’s 50th anniversary festivities – Sardinia will revel in the emergence of rising star Kalle Rovanperä. The 21-year-old Finn continues to shrug off his lack of experience and heads to Alghero on the back of claiming a third-straight victory.

Although Rovanperä’s advantage over second-placed Thierry Neuville has risen to an impressive 46 points after four rounds, the chase for third place is tightly poised with four points separating Takamoto Katsuta in third and Craig Breen in sixth. Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans are fourth and fifth in the provisional order respectively.

The World Rally Championship has been stopping off in Sardinia since 2004 and this year’s event is the 17th to count for the WRC following its relocation from the mainland. With the exception of 2010, Sardinia has been ever-present on the WRC calendar since its maiden appearance.

For its home round of the WRC, Pirelli will provide its Scorpion KX hard and soft tyres. The hard compound is the first choice and will be used if it is warm and dry on Rally Italia Sardegna, while the soft compound is for cool and damp conditions. A maximum of 28 tyres are allocated to each Rally1 car including four for Shakedown.

 

RALLY1 CONTENDERS

Eleven new-generation, hybrid-powered Rally1 cars feature on the Rally Italia Sardegna entry list, which is headed by Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen, winners of the last three rounds for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.

The Finns are 46 points ahead of their nearest challengers, the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team pairing of Belgians Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe.

Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally1-powered challenge also includes Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin and Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston, plus Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm, the Finnish pair returning to WRC duty after making way for Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas in Portugal as part of their carsharing arrangement for the season.

Spaniards Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera continue in the third Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team entry on the back of their third place in Portugal. Estonians Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja complete the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 entry.

Irishmen Craig Breen/Paul Nagle are the highest-seeded members of the M-Sport Ford World Rally followed by Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson and Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais compete in a fourth Ford Puma Rally1.

 

THE SUPPORTING CATEGORIES

There are plenty of talented drivers on show in FIA WRC2, the World Rally Championship’s second tier for Rally2 cars. Yohan Rossel (PH Sport Citroën C3) heads defending champion and fellow two-time event winner Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) in the provisional standings. Triple European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz is next but hasn’t included Sardinia on his 2022 schedule. That leaves WRC2 Junior leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) as the next best-placed driver on the entry list followed by his Toksport team-mate Nikolay Gryazin and Yacco ACCO Team’s Erik Cais (Ford Fiesta Rally2).

Other potential frontrunners include Eric Camilli (Saintéloc Junior Team), Georg Linnamäe, Miko Marczyk, Josh McErlean, Teemu Suninen (Hyundai Motorsport N) and Junior WRC champion Sami Pajari, who steps up to Rally2 level in a Škoda Fabia Evo for the first time when he will look to utilise experienced gained competing in Rally3 machinery. Italian Mauro Miele is the leading FIA WRC2 Masters contender, while Jan Černý tops the FIA WRC3 entry ahead of Diego Dominguez, Zoltán László and Enrico Brazzoli.

 

THE 2022 ROUTE

Following the Olbia Cabu-Abbas superspecial on Thursday evening, Friday’s opening loop is made up of the Terranova and Monti di Ala’ e Buddoso’ stages run twice. Measuring 24.70 kilometres, Monti di Ala’ e Buddoso’ is the rally’s longest stage. After service in Alghero, the challenge continues with two passes of Osilo - Tergu and Sedini - Castelsardo for a total competitive distance on leg one of 133.56 kilometres. Saturday’s itinerary consists of four stages each run twice over 131.82 timed kilometres. Erula - Tula follows Tempio Pausania with both tests repeated before crews head to a tyre fitting zone in Buddusò. The afternoon consists of two passes through Coiluna - Loelle and Monte Lerno di Pattada, which includes the famous Micky’s Jump. Sunday’s deciding leg features the double use Cala Flumini and Sassari - Argentiera stages. Sassari - Argentiera forms the Wolf Power Stage when its run for a second time with a seaside stretch a notable highlight.

 

RALLY DATA

Total distance:   1303.38 km
Stage distance:   307.91 km
Number of stages:  21

 

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Centre located at Lu Qualté (Largo Lo Quarter), Alghero.

The opening hours are:
Tuesday May 31: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs
Wednesday June 1: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday June 2: 07:00 – 20:00 hrs
Friday June 3: 07:00 – 14:00 hrs

The Media Centre (Lu Qualté, Largo Lo Quarter, Alghero), is open as follows:
Tuesday May 31: 14:00 – 20:00 hrs
Wednesday June 1: 08:00 – 20:00 hrs
Thursday June 2: 07:00 – 22:00 hrs
Friday June 3: 07:00 – 23:00 hrs
Saturday June 4: 07:00 – 23:00 hrs
Sunday June 5: 07:00 – 23:00 hrs

 

2022 RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Wednesday June 1 
FIA Tabard Media Safety Briefing, Photographers’ Room, Media Centre17:00 hrs
Team media functions (contact teams directly for information)17:30 to 19:00 hrs
Autograph signing session, Service Park19:15 to 19:35 hrs
  
Thursday June 2 
Shakedown for P1 and invited drivers, Olmedo, 3.53km 09:01-10:00 hrs
Shakedown for P1, P2 and P3 drivers, Olmedo, 3.53km10:00-11:30 hrs
Shakedown for non-priority drivers, Olmedo, 3.53km11:30-13:00 hrs
Meet the Crews (top 3 drivers from Shakedown), Alghero Service Park12:15 hrs
Pre-event FIA press conference, Media Centre, Alghero*13:00 hrs
Rally Start (start of Section 1) - Via dei Lidi, Olbia18:05 hrs
  
Friday June 3 
Start of Section 205:55 hrs
Meet the Crews (P1 team principals, then top 3 drivers), Service Parkaround 20:45 hrs
  
Saturday June 4 
Start of Section 605:25 hrs
Meet the Crews (P1 team principals, then top 3 drivers), Service Parkaround 20:00 hrs 
  
Sunday June 5 
Start of Section 1007:00 hrs
Podium Ceremony and Prize Giving, Alghero - Bastioni Magellano 15:00 hrs
Post-Event FIA Press Conference, Media Centre, Alghero*16:00 hrs

 

*Press Conferences will be available to accredited media attending onsite and no longer streamed via Zoom. However, a written transcript will be available afterwards.

 

MEDIA ZONES

All priority drivers (and co-drivers upon request to the National Press Officer or FIA Media Delegate) will be available for media interviews at the following times:
TC5A, TC9A, TC13A, TC17A, TC21A

 

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

 

Thursday June 2

13:00 – FIA WRC

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Elfyn Evans (GBR), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Dani Sordo (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally1

M-Sport Ford WRT Craig Breen (IRL), Ford Puma Rally1

13:10 – FIA WRC2

PH Sport – Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2

Mauro Miele (ITA), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo

Sami Pajari (FIN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo

13:20 – FIA WRC3

Enrico Brazzoli (ITA), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Jan Černý (CZE), Ford Fiesta Rally3

 

Sunday June 5

Winning FIA WRC3 Open Championship driver

Winning FIA WRC2 Championship driver

Winning FIA WRC2 Masters Cup driver

Top three drivers in the overall classification

Representative of the winning manufacturer

 

2022 RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA MANUFACTURER ENTRIES

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTKalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) - #69
 Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) - #33
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN) #4
  
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTThierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) - #11
 Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) - #8
 Dani Sordo (ESP) / Cándido Carrera (ESP) - #6
  
M-Sport Ford WRTCraig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL) - #42
 Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Jonas Andersson (SWE) - #44
 Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) / Alexandre Coria (FRA) - #16

 

2022 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

The classification following round three of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship season is available at this link.


2021 RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA RESULTS

1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaToyota Yaris WRC3h19m26.4s
2. Elfyn Evans/Scott MartinToyota Yaris WRC+46.0s
3. Thierry Neuville/Martijn WydaegheHyundai i20 Coupe WRC+1m05.2s

 

RECENT WINNERS

2021Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaToyota Yaris WRC
2020Dani Sordo/Carlos del BarrioHyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2019Dani Sordo/Carlos del BarrioHyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2018Thierry Neuville/Nicolas GilsoulHyundai i20 Coupe WRC
2017Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaFord Fiesta WRC