RALLYE SARDINIA (ITALY) – Oct 1st – 3rd, Round 13
The Isle of Sardinia rests off the west coast of Italy in the Mediterranean and provides a beautiful backdrop for a gravel rally that is steeped in history. The rally has been part of the European Championship for many years in the guise of the Costa Smerelda Rally. The victorious reads like a who’s who of rallying, with winners such as Sainz, Auriol, Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen.
The event is based on the gravel roads in the mountains of Costa Smerelda (north east Sardinia). The route is fairly compact, rarely straying more than 100km from its base in Porto Cervo.
Crowds will be smaller than the European mainland events, so getting around the rally should be a breeze. However, the Italian crowds provide a highly charged atmosphere as they demonstrate total commitment to their icons as they hang over barriers and from every conceivable vantage point to cheer their heroes on.
Who will be first?
This event is new to the WRC so it is available for all drivers to stake a claim. Peugeot will have a small advantage, having competed and won in 2003 with Rovanperra. Although with gravel roads more akin to the Acropolis, road position is likely to play a role. It would be of little surprise to see the new stars like Duval, Hirvonen and local ace Galli challenge for victory.