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Italy - (J) 13-16 Jun 19

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:31 PM - 964 Hits

Round 8 - 2019 World Rally Championship
J - Counting Round WRC Junior Championship

Live Results (Italy 2019) Also available at: rally-base results & ewrc-results.com
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Italia

First stage each day - Times are Irish/UK (Sardinia is 1 hour ahead)
Shakedown Thu - 08:00
SS1 Thu - 16:00 (Superspecial)
SS2 Fri - 07:03
SS10 Sat - 07:08
SS16 Sun - 07:15

Hyundai Motorsport Preview – Round 8: Rally Italia Sardegna

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:31 PM

Hyundai Motorsport will be hoping to get back to winning ways as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves into its second half with Rally Italia Sardegna next weekend.

Continuing WRC’s run of consecutive gravel events, Sardinia has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Hyundai Motorsport in the past seasons. The team has claimed two victories at the event (2016 and 2018) with a total of five individual podium results.

A trio of crews will helm the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRCs with reigning Sardinia winners Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul aiming to continue their recent competitive form. Neuville holds third in the drivers’ championship, following a fine drive to second in Portugal, just ten points from the lead.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger-Amland return to the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team line-up aiming to recreate the form that powered them to second place in Argentina in April. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, meanwhile, have their sights set on a competitive and trouble-free rally after a frustrating weekend in Portugal, where they demonstrated their pace and potential on tough gravel routes.

All three crews have had the opportunity to test the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC ahead of Rally Italia Sardegna as Hyundai Motorsport seeks to extend its advantage in the manufacturers’ championship. The 19-stage Rally Italia Sardegna covers a competitive distance of 310.52km with a largely unchanged route to last season, an event that was decided in thrilling fashion on the Power Stage with Neuville emerging victorious by 0.7-seconds.

Team Director Andrea Adamo said:
“We enter the second half of the season knowing we can’t afford to have off-weekends like we did in Portugal. We came away with a second place but that could have been so much more. We have an opportunity in Sardinia to show what we are capable of but it’s in our hands to deliver. We will face another challenging rally in terms of the road conditions and temperatures but I am confident our crews will use their undisputed talent to secure the best result possible. We will do our talking on the stages.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (#11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Twice winners at Rally Italia Sardegna (2016 and 2018)
Third in drivers’ championship, just ten points from leader

Neuville said: “Sardinia is one of my favourite events. It suits perfectly to my driving style and to our pace notes system. Nicolas and I have always felt comfortable there and we have had lots of success in the past. I hope we will be able to add to that in this year’s event. The championship is heating up nicely, so it will be another close battle I am sure. We will have the pleasure of driving against some really beautiful landscapes with some nice, technical stages – exactly what we enjoy!”

Crew Notes: Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger-Amland (#89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Aiming to return to podium form in first event since Chile
Second place in Argentina in April remains crews’ season highlight so far

Mikkelsen said: “I am excited to get back behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC after Thierry’s strong result in Portugal. Sardinia is a tricky rally, very technical with narrow roads that require precise pace notes and driving style. It’s important to have a predictable car for this event, one that gives you the confidence to push. Often there are rocks on the road and it becomes heavily rutted on the second pass. This puts extra focus on tyre management. Starting position is also a key factor with those running later benefitting from the cleaning effect. A tough but enjoyable rally awaits us.”

Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
Strong showing in Portugal undermined by technical issue
Spaniards ready to fight for first podium of 2019

Sordo said: “We know that we missed an opportunity for a competitive result in Portugal but we have regrouped and our focus is now on Sardinia where our target is for a trouble-free, reliable weekend. It is, however, a difficult rally. The roads are narrow with stones on the side that can catch us unaware. The first pass is quite sandy so there is more grip on the repeat loop, which means we have to follow a clever tyre strategy. The hot conditions also make it a gruelling rally on the car, tyres and crew, so we have lots of things to monitor and manage over the whole weekend.”

Weekend at a glance
19 stages run over a competitive distance of 310.52km
Weekend gets underway with 2km run at the Ittiri Arena Show
Friday’s loop is identical to 2018 with 124.20km of stages in the north-east
Saturday includes the famous Micky’s Jump within the Monte-Lerno stage on the longest day of the rally – 142.42km of special stages
Sunday moves to the coast north of Alghero for a picturesque conclusion to the rally in which hot conditions and gruelling terrain are expected to prevail.

THE C3 WRC TACKLES THE SCORCHING AND TWISTY SARDINIAN ROADS

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:29 PM

As the championship enters the second half of the season, Citroën Total World Rally Team crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm prepare to tackle one of the year’s most technically demanding events in the idyllic setting of Sardinia, with the crystal blue water of the Mediterranean forming a magnificent backdrop.

Having claimed six podium-finishes in seven races since the start of the year and secured stage wins at every round contested thus far on gravel in the C3 WRC, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia really are the kings of consistency. They will be intending to make use of their unrivalled competitiveness and incredible race craft again at this rally, where they have already scored three wins (2013, 2014 and 2015). Despite Citroën’s experience in Sardinia, where the team has won five times, it will be difficult to repeat the feat this year, given that the crew will be first in the running order on Friday and that the grip on the gravel roads here improves significantly as more cars complete the stages. However, comforted by the valuable and effective work done in testing with the team in first-run conditions, the championship leaders will undoubtedly once again be digging deep to make the very best of their situation as they continue to chase a seventh consecutive world title.

Best performer with six stage wins, including the Power Stage, on only their second race in a WRC in 2017 before going even better last year to finish third overall, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm have performed brilliantly during each of their appearances in Sardinia in a top-flight car. It is an event they are getting to know well and Citroën’s Finns will also have a good position in the running order on Friday’s leg (ninth). They will therefore be able to get their bearings from the word go and then attempt to build on the clear breakthrough made in Portugal in handling the C3 WRC on gravel and secure a strong result here.

The Citroën Total World Rally Team prepared for Portugal and this round, one of the most technical of the season, during two days of testing in Sardinia back in mid-May on stages previously used as part of the island rally. Encouraged by the progress seen in the C3 WRC in Portugal, the French team has redoubled its efforts behind the scenes to keep improving on the Italian island.

REACTIONS FROM…

Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“This rally is always a real challenge for crews and cars alike. It will be especially tough for Sébastien and Julien, given that they will be once again cleaning the roads for their rivals on day one, where the phenomenon is undoubtedly even more acute here than in Portugal. Having said that, we know how talented and competitive these guys are. They will certainly be doing their very best to deal with what is a clear disadvantage, especially as the tests we held before Portugal enabled us to make further improvements to C3 WRC. That was confirmed during the rally, even if it is was difficult to show it. Meanwhile, Esapekka has a great chance here given his position in the running order. He’ll need to show consistency throughout the race and manage to keep it together from start to finish. He certainly has the ability, we’re convinced of that, and we’re going to do what we can to support him as effectively as possible to deliver the goods.”

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Running first on the road in Sardinia means we can more or less write off our chances of winning from the word go, given how much the stages clean here. It looks like we won't be getting any help to upset the odds from the weather, with no forecast for a repeat of the rain that fell last year. So I'm expecting a tough weekend but as ever, I’ll be giving it my absolute maximum, regardless of the circumstances, and we'll see how many points we have at the end of the weekend. The C3 WRC has clearly progressed recently and I had a good feeling in Portugal. Our performance on day one will once again largely determine our overall result.”

Number of appearances at the event: 11
Number of wins: 3 (2013, 2014 and 2015)

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Obviously, we have learned the lessons from Portugal. As regards Sardinia, it’s a rally where you can't push flat out all the time, especially on the second runs, because you have to think about taking care of the car and looking out for loose rocks. Given that we are starting in ninth position in the running order on day one, we should in any event have an advantage. It’s up to us to make the most of that. If we keep the same speed we had in Portugal and we don't make any mistakes during the three days, we should secure a good result. I'm determined to produce a solid, consistent performance in all three legs. That really is my number one priority this weekend.”

Number of appearances at the event: 4
Best result: 3th (2018)

KEY FIGURES

19 timed stages covering a total of 310.52 km
5 overall wins secured by Citroën at Rally Italia Sardegna: 2 with Xsara WRC (2005 and 2006), 1 with C4 WRC (2008) et 2 with DS3 WRC (2011 and 2012)
35 degrees in the air, 50°C on the ground and around 60 degrees in the cockpit at the end of the stages: these are the maximum temperatures generally seen during the event 1,028 metres – the peak altitude of the rally, recorded on the Monte Lerno stage

RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA SCHEDULE (GMT+2)

With just twenty-two kilometres different to last year’s rally, the route has undergone only minor changes. It nonetheless features the full range of local difficulties. Narrow, low-grip roads covered with a fine layer of sandy gravel, lined by bushes and trees, leave no room for error, both in pace notes and driving.

After a fairly full first day on Friday (124.20km of timed stages), Saturday’s leg is the longest of the weekend, contested over a competitive distance of 142.42km and featuring two runs on the long Monti di Ala’ (28.21km) and Monte Lerno (28.03km) stages. Sunday’s leg (41.90km) will be more of a sprint finish.

With hard base roads, covered by a sandy surface that is swept clear as more cars come through the stages, and invariably high temperatures, especially in the afternoon, this round is particularly hard on the tyres. Hard compound Michelin tyres are therefore almost mandatory on the second loop. In the morning, however, depending on your position in the running order, the smart move may just be to combine them with mediums to try and get more grip if you’re stuck cleaning the road.

GREENSMITH READY FOR SARDINIA

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:28 PM

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson will return to the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 as they make their Rally Italia Sardegna debut next week. Fresh from their excursion with the top-specification Fiesta in Portugal, the pairing are back in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series and keen to secure a good result against strong competition in the WRC 2 Pro category.

Team mate ?ukasz Pieni??ek has unfortunately had to withdraw from the event. The Polish driver showed good speed on a number of stages this year, but has been forced to put his season on hold as he searches for the budget to continue his programme. The door remains open and M-Sport hope to continue their co-operation with Pieni??ek later in the year and to see him behind the wheel of the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5.

Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m still quite shocked about how much I learnt from driving the world rally car in Portugal, and I hope that will help me next week when I take to the wheel of the current Ford Fiesta R5 one last time!

“This will be my first time in Sardinia, but I’ve always tended to do quite well on events with technical stages. It will be rough, and conservation will play a part for sure, but from what I’ve seen I think this is a rally that will suit me and the Fiesta.

“This car has been a phenomenon in the world of rallying. It’s achieved so much over the past six years, and I plan to give the old girl a good send off before getting my hands on the all-new EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 after the summer break in Finland.”

?ukasz Pieni??ek said:
“I'm hoping that Rally de Portugal won't be our last WRC event this year but unfortunately we'll have to miss the upcoming Rally Sardinia. Thanks to my long-time partners I was able to join a factory team for this year for which I'm incredibly grateful. Unfortunately at the moment our budget isn't allowing us to continue with our WRC programme.

“We'll keep working on securing backing which would allow us to continue the season and our co?operation with M-Sport. The team understands our situation and is very supportive while still hoping to have us back in WRC 2 Pro – for which I'm very thankful. I hope that we'll be able to find partners who will allow us to return to the FIA World Rally Championship. Especially as the new Fiesta R5 has huge potential and I would love to try it in action.”

M-SPORT FORD SPEED THEIR WAY TO SARDINIA

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:26 PM

With just three days to prepare the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs for next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team had to deliver some serious speed at home in the workshop as well as needing to do the same out on the stages!

The fleet of Fiestas arrived back at M-Sport’s Dovenby Hall headquarters early last Wednesday and the technicians worked more than one late evening – with meticulous attention to detail – to get everything prepared on time.

Loading the cars into the transporters on Friday afternoon, the precious cargo is currently making its way to Genoa in Northwest Italy. From there, it’s an overnight ferry to Porto Torres followed by a short one-hour drive to Alghero where the Fiestas will be safely unloaded in the harbour-side service park.

The team may not have conducted a pre-event test ahead of this rally, but both Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen had the pace to challenge for the top results at the previous outing in Portugal. Similarly hot and dusty conditions are expected next week, and the team are confident of being able to deliver another strong performance.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“It’s been a pretty quick turnaround for the lads in the workshop. The cars arrived back on Wednesday and there was more than one late night to ensure everything was ready to leave on Friday! But we have an excellent group of mechanics and they got the job done – fuelled by a few trips to the local pie shop!

“The Fiesta has a good track record in Sardinia. We won here with Ott [Tänak] in 2017, and Seb [Ogier] missed out on the victory by just 0.7 seconds last year. Elfyn and Teemu also have good experience here. They both know what it takes to deliver a strong performance and we’ll be pushing for another positive result.

“We had the pace to be on the podium in Portugal, so that has to be our goal again next week. And it would be nice to go into the summer break with some more silverware for the office!”

RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA
JUMPING IN THE DUST
The beautiful island of Sardinia is prime rally territory – its rugged mountains, ancient forests and unspoilt rural terrain providing some of the FIA World Rally Championship’s most challenging and demanding speed tests.

The fast, narrow stages leave no room for error. Lined with car-breaking obstacles, they demand precision driving and note calling from the drivers and co-drivers – who must maintain focus whilst combatting some of the highest temperatures of the year!

ELFYN EVANS
SCOTT MARTIN
Having first taken to the wheel of a world rally car at Rally Italia Sardegna in 2013, Elfyn Evans will always have fond memories of the island. The Welshman secured his best result of fourth at the event in 2015, and will be looking to do at least one better this year as he and co-driver Scott Martin challenge for another top-three finish.

Previous starts: 5
Best result: 4th (2015)

Elfyn Evans said:
“I think every driver remembers the first time they got behind the wheel of a world rally car, and for that reason Sardinia will always be a really special place for me. It’s not an easy rally, but once you’ve been there a few times you really learn to enjoy the challenging nature of the stages.

“We haven’t done a pre-event test for this event, but I did join the guys at Red Bull UK for ‘Red Bull Cut It’ – which is basically a lawnmower race! I’m not sure how much it will help me out on the stages this week, but it was a lot of fun and a good chance to catch up with all of the other Red Bull UK Athletes.

“Looking ahead to Sardinia, our aim has to be the podium. It won’t be easy as the competition is extremely strong at the moment, but if we can deliver a clever rally I see no reason why we can’t be up there challenging for the top results.”

TEEMU SUNINEN
JARMO LEHTINEN
Teemu Suninen will join forces with a new co-driver this week as Jarmo Lehtinen makes a welcome return to competition. Returning to the notes, Lehtinen’s vast experience will aid the young Finn in his development over the second half of the season.

Having contested Rally Italia Sardegna on three previous occasions, Suninen has good knowledge of the event and is a two-time class winner on the island – claiming victory in the WRC 3 category in 2015, and WRC 2 in 2016.

Previous starts: 3
Best result: 8th (2016)

Teemu Suninen said:
“I’ll have a new co-driver next week as Jarmo Lehtinen joins me for the rest of the season. I want to thank Marko [Salminen] because we achieved a lot together over the first half of the year. We won stages and led our very first rally. But I am still learning, and having the experience of someone like Jarmo will be really important if I am to achieve my goals over the second half of the season.

“Rally Sardinia is quite familiar to me. This will be my fourth time there and I hope that helps as I get up to speed with Jarmo. With only a week since the previous event we haven’t had long to prepare, but if everything goes to plan I’m confident I can show the same pace I had in Portugal.

“We’ll need to be really focused, not only because this is a new partnership but also because this is a really tough rally. The stages can be quite rough so we’ll have to be careful to mark every stone on the recce. And it’s also a really hot rally so we’ll need to make sure we’re drinking enough and eating properly to keep our energy levels high.”

JUNIOR WRC HITS HALFWAY MARK FOR TOUGHEST RALLY OF THE SEASON

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:22 PM

The 2019 FIA Junior WRC Championship goes from one Mediterranean island to another as the series hits the halfway mark on the Italian island of Sardinia for Rally Italia Sardegna.

The rally represents the third different surface of the championship as the potential WRC stars of the future will make their 2019 FIA Junior WRC gravel debuts in the EcoBoost-powered M Sport Fiesta R2 car.

The rally can be summarised in three words: rough, hot and dusty – all new challenges for the 2019 FIA Junior WRC crews.

The heat is on

Ambient air temperatures often exceed 30 degrees during this rally which make for oven-like temperatures for each crew to contend with inside the car. Heat exhaustion will be a developing adversary for them as each stage progresses making it difficult to stay focussed. This is a rally where focus is paramount too with dust and visibility being major factors for drivers to negotiate on each speed test.

On the face of it

The challenge of Rally Italia is further compounded by a continually developing surface as the soft and sandy top surface covers a very hard and immovable bedrock. It results in an unstable surface that is ravaged by more the more powerful cars ahead that dig up ruts and rocks.

Tortoise and the hare

Crews are faced with two options for their pace notes that will be considered during recce and both have their flaws. An intense pace could deliver vital stage win points, but it runs the risk of not finishing the rally thanks to the tough nature of Sardinia’s stages. To aim for a good finishing position, compromising pace is needed to avoid moments that are hard wearing on the car.

Tyres

For Sardinia, the best preparation crews can do for tyres is by practicing tyre changes; chances of punctures are so high that this FIA Junior WRC rally could be won or lost on a simple tyre change. The Pirelli tyre of choice for crews will be the hard compound Pirelli Scorpion K4, of which they will have 22 available. They will also have six of the softer compound Pirelli Scorpion K6 to choose from, although these are normally reserved for the unlikely event of wet conditions,

FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, Maciej Woda, said:

“I am really excited for this rally, for me gravel rallying is like returning home, it is very entertaining and rewarding. This year’s crews have some very tough challenges ahead of them on this rally and it will be the hardest rally of their season. Round three of the Junior WRC Championship also represents the midpoint of the season which means by the end of this rally we will start to see who is in the running for the championship. It’s especially important as the next three rounds are all gravel events. Those that can demonstrate their skill in here Sardinia will have more confidence going into the remainder of the championship.”

What the drivers said:

    71 Tom Kristensson / Henrik Appelskog
    “After I checked some videos and onboards, I know that this rally will be really interesting and fun! For sure a demanding rally as well because of the tricky and changing stages. Sand and stones are the name of the rally in my mind. But as usual, we will stick to the plan and have fun!”

    72 Jan Solans / Mauro Barreiro
    “I really want to run in Sardinia, I think it's a good opportunity to fight again for the podium. The stages are similar to those we have in Spain, so I’m used to driving on this kind of roads. I have done a rally here in Spain in test mode, and the truth is that I feel comfortable and confident for the rally.”

    73 Dennis Ra?dstro?m / Johan Johansson
    “We are very pleased with our results and pace on Corsica, so are going into this event with good confidence and high ambitions. As usual as with entering WRC events, we are awaiting a big challenge on Sardinia. It will be our second time on this event, taking our first stage win in Junior WRC back in 2017.”

    74 Julius Tannert / Jürgen Heigl
    “I am really looking forward to Rally Sardegna. After our win in Corsica, we are highly motivated and want to fight for the championship. It will be a tough rally and I hope I can use my experience from 2017. As we have several gravel specialists in our championship, I am sure it will be huge challenge to fight for the podium.”

    75 Tom Williams / Phil Hall
    “I am really looking forward to Rally Sardinia as we are now on the gravel side of the championship, after the demanding snow and tarmac rounds. This event is new to Phil and I, so it will be a good learning curve and I know this will be a big challenge for all crews. The stages are very technical here so we will need 100% concentration to achieve our goals.”

    76 Martins Sesks / Krisjanis Caune
    “I’m looking forward to this round, it is a new opportunity for us to show our pace and that we can drive smooth, precisely and consistently. The two past rallies were disasters for us, I recently finished on the podium on Rally Liep?ja and I think I got my self-confidence back and Krisjanis too. So we have done a lot of work ahead of Sardinia to be ready for this rally.”

    77 Sean Johnston / Alex Kihurani
    “Alex and I are really looking forward to hopping back behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R2T this weekend. At our last gravel rally we were able to break through the 1sec/Km barrier to the top guys and it's certainly my hope to be able to replicate this kind of performance again out on Rally Italia Sardegna. I think the roads will be pretty rugged by the time we get into them, but I'm excited for the challenge. As always, it's just such a treat to be back on a WRC weekend as the atmosphere is simply incredible!”

    78 Enrico Oldrati / Elia de Guio
    “Finally it's time to get back on gravel which is definitely my favourite surface! The last event in Corsica was quite tough with a lot of turns, so we had to work a lot with our pace notes, but the result was quite satisfying. For my home event I worked really hard as I took part in Rally Adriatico and in the last WRC event (Rally Portugal). For sure we will try our best to improve the feeling and the rhythm with the stages and let's hope to score some important championship points"

    79 Raul Badiu / Gabriel Lazar
    “I am really looking forward to Rally Italia Sardegna, the first rally where I should feel a bit more at home with stages closer to what I am used to in Romania. The previous two specialist events, Sweden and Corsica, represented a steep learning curve and brand-new experiences for me. I hope that I will finally enjoy a trouble-free rally back on my favourite surface, even though the conditions will be tough and it will be an interesting challenge to combine speed and reliability.”

    80 Fabrizio Zaldivar / Fernando Mussano
    “Finally a gravel rall, I have more experience in these conditions and I hope to have a perfect rally, try to get a good result and continue learning as much as possible!”

    81 Nico Knacker / TBC
    "Rally Corsica was a bit difficult for us, but the goal was to finish the rally and drive every kilometre to improve our pace notes for the future. We had a lot of fun with the new Ford Fiesta R2T on tarmac - a well-known surface for me. Rally Italia Sardegna will be my first ever rally event on gravel. The target for the following weekend is to improve myself with every stage and to finish the rally so that I can gain many experiences at this great event."

Entry List

Posted: June 12, 2019 5:21 PM

Rally Guide / Details / Event Website

Posted: February 19, 2019 3:27 PM

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