Rally Italia Sardegna 2023 is about to start
The rally organised by the Automobile Club d'Italia in collaboration with the Regione Sardegna, sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, gets underway tomorrow, Thursday 1 June, with shakedown and the "Olbia-Cabu Abbas”.
Olbia, Wednesday 31 May 2023 - Rally Italia Sardegna 2023 is ready to start. The race organized by the Automobile Club d'Italia in collaboration with the Regione Sardegna will take place from tomorrow, Thursday 1st, to Sunday 4th of June, for the 20th time on the gravel of the Island of the Four Moors. It is the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
With the presence of three World Champions among the Rally1 cars, Kalle Rovanpera and Sebastien Ogier in a Toyota and Ott Tanak in a Ford, the 71 crews admitted to the start will start the engines of the racing cars from 9.01 am for the Shakedown on the 2.87 km of "Loiri Porto San Paolo" section. The hunt for the WRC1, WRC2, WRC3, and Junior World Rally Championship points will then start at 18.02 from the Olbia promenade, and then the "Olbia-Cabu Abbas" stage, 3.20 km of mixed tarmac and gravel inside the town. The stage will be broadcast live on RAI Sport HD, as well as on the WRC+.
27 nationalities are represented, with 18 Italian crews, including eight from Sardinia, followed by the Finns with seven entries, five French, four Spanish, and Estonians. Then all the others.
The competition will resume at 7.40 a.m. on Friday 2nd with six special stages including the new 2023 'Monte Lerno - Sa Conchedda', which with its 49.9 km is the longest one in the Italian rally. Another seven special stages on Saturday 3rd and four on the final day, Sunday 4th June, when at 12.15 there will be the "Sardegna" power stage on which further points will be at stake. The Podium Ceremony is scheduled at 15.00 on the Olbia promenade.
The challenges will involve Kalle Rovanpera - the 22-year-old Finnish reigning World Champion - joined by Jonn Haltunen in the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid, who leads the championship standings. The Finnish is back from his last success at the Rally of Portugal, after the 2nd place in Monaco. He is followed by Ott Tanak - the 2022 winner of the Italian event - again with Martin Jaervoja in the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid, who won last February's Rally Sweden. His team-mate in the M-Sport Ford Rally Team is the young transalpine Pierre Louis Loubet, with Nicolas Gilsoul in the Puma Rally1. Third place for eight-time champion Sebastien Ogier, who shares the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT's Yaris with Vincent Landais and opened his season with success on Rallye Monte Carlo, a victory that he obtained again in Mexico. Another Toyota GR Yaris for Takamoto Katsuta, eighth in the drivers' standings, joined by Aron Johnston. Hyundai has always found friendly roads in Sardinia, as confirmed by its 2022 success with Tanak. The Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team is fielding three I20 N Rally1 Hybrids with Belgians Thierry Neuville and Martjin Wydaeghe, who has finished on the podium in Monte Carlo and Sweden; Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm, third on the podium in both Croatia and Portugal; and Dani Sordo and Candido Carrera, who finished 2nd in Portugal and in 2022 were third in Italy, behind the never-forgotten Craig Breen.
The WRC2 is decidedly numerous with 38 crews. Among them there is the leader Yohan Rossel in the Citroen C3 Rally2, followed by Oliver Solberg and at three points by Britain's Gus Greensmith, both in Skoda Fabia RS. Competing in the Junior World Rally Championship, there are eight drivers in the Ford Fiesta Rally3 of M-Sport Poland, with the main protagonists of the 2023 racing season, namely William Creighton, Diego Dominguez, and Tom Rensonnet.
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