Rally Sardinia Italy Preview

After running in October last season, Rally Italia Sardegna returns to its more traditional June date and to Olbia, the event’s home when it joined the WRC schedule for the first time in 2004 until Alghero became host in 2014.

The move has led to several route changes, starting with a new shakedown stage in Loiri, the return of leg two’s Bortigiadas – Aggius – Viddalba for first time since 2005, albeit significantly revised since it was last used, plus a revamped Sunday leg. This includes the all-new Aglientu – Santa Teresa test and a tweaked Arzachena – Braniatogghiu stage.

While the route, which totals 303.10 kilometres over 20 stages, has been adjusted, the challenge of competing in Sardinia remains just as intense. The island’s roads are twisty and technical in parts but fast and undulating in others. Often lined with trees and rocks, dust hanging above the narrow tracks raises the difficulty level, while the soft sandy surface puts the onus on running order in dry conditions.

The hard base can also trigger an increase in tyre wear, particularly on the second pass and when the ambient and ground temperatures are at their highest.

Following the ceremonial start in Alghero on Thursday June 3, Friday’s action starts with twin visits to Filigosu – Sa Conchedda and Terranova, followed by two runs through Tempio Pausania and Erula – Tula either side of service in Olbia.

Saturday’s route, the longest of the rally at 129.62 kilometres, includes Coiluna – Loelle and Lerno – Monti di Ala’, which are used twice in the morning, followed by double passes of Bortigiadas – Aggius – Viddalba and Sedini – Castelsardo in the afternoon after a service break in Olbia. Lerno – Monti di Ala’ features the legendary Micky’s Jump and is a spectacle like no other.

The event is decided over two repeated stages on Sunday (June 6) with the second run through Aglientu – Santa Teresa counting as the points-paying Wolf Power Stage. Its coastal setting promises spectacular views for audiences watching the action live around the world.