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Italy - 21-22 Jun 13

Posted: June 19, 2013 8:39 PM - 1051 Hits

Round 7 - 2013 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Italy 2013)
Radio: Rally Radio on WRC.COM
News: irallylive.com | www.wrc.com

First stage each day
Time are Ireland/UK (Sardinia is 1 hours ahead.)
SS1 Fri - 06:58
SS9 Sat - 07:06

Fisher and Campedelli are out to make their mark and score points!

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:44 AM

Alastair Fisher and Simone Campedelli matched the pace of the quickest in Portugal, but were unable to translate their level of performance into important points. The Saintéloc Racing drivers are back for the second round of the Citroën Top Driver in the Sardinian rally. This time the Northen Irishman and the Italian are determined to run at the front!

Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble were leading the Citroën Top Driver classification in Rally Portugal, but their victory hopes were dashed when crossing a ford that led to mechanical problems. Nonetheless, they managed to finish fourth. “Portugal was obviously frustrating with the problem in the water crossing, but we were extremely pleased with our pace as it was our first event in the car against seasoned DS3 competitors and we managed to lead on day 1 and set fastest times”, said Alastair.

Before going to Sardinia, the driver from Ulster is hoping to convert his pace into results and points. In his opinion the opening kilometers will play a crucial role in determining the outcome. “Sardinia will be a tough rally, with very challenging roads, as the event is only two days it will be important to get off to a good start on the first 30km stage and maintain a consistent fast pace, we need to come home with some good points for us and the team.”

While Fisher is still getting to grips with his car he’s convinced he can win. “I was very impressed wit the DS3s capabilities on the gravel in Portugal, now that I have some more experience of the car this will help my speed on the stages, but as always everyone will be more prepared for round 2.”

As in Portugal where he too hit mechanical problems, Simone Campedelli will be at the wheel of the second DS3 R3 tuned by Saintéloc Racing. He managed to bring the car home in sixth place. “We weren’t very lucky in Portugal,” said Simone. “That hasn’t hurt our motivation and we’re going to work with the team to get back on the right track. Although the level in the Citroën Top Driver is very high, we’ve got what it takes to score a good result.”

With Danilo Fappani as co-driver Campedelli will have the advantage of racing on home turf as he is taking part in an event in which he’s already raced. “I know this rally which I competed in in the Italian Rally and World Championships. With my experience I think that we can take advantage of this. In addition, I now know the car very well. I know it better on tarmac and I’m sure I can be quick on gravel too. I’m ready to go out there and fight and I’m hoping to win in front of my home crowd!”

Rally Italia Sardegna will kick off on Thursday with the qualifying stage Monte Pinu (3,86 km). Like in previous years the crews will set off from Olbia on Friday morning. They will have to do four stages twice on the first day for a loop of 147 km. On Saturday, the second and last day’s racing consists of two loops of four stages for a total of 157 km.

CITROEN TOP DRIVER

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:42 AM

Rally Italia-Sardegna, the second round of the Citroën Top Driver series, also marks the season’s halfway stage in the World Championship. And with just a few days to go before a well-deserved summer break, there may well be a holiday feel to the event. However, the ten Top Driver crews competing in the rally in their DS3 R3s will certainly not be looking to take it easy just yet. Everyone will be pushing and Bryan Bouffier, Sébastien Chardonnet and Quentin Gilbert will be using every ounce of their talent to hold onto the top positions in the standings of the Citroën formula.

Contested in the north east of Sardinia and based in Olbia, the Italian event has been brought forward to the start of the summer, having been held in October in 2012. Featuring a total of 305 kilometres of timed sections in sixteen special stages, the format for this year’s event is very different. The entire rally is packed into two long days’ racing on the Friday and Saturday, with no stage longer than 32 kilometres. The Citroën Top Driver’s leading crews will therefore need to demonstrate considerable strength and concentration on the event’s tricky, winding roads, which can also be rock-strewn and rutted in places, meaning punctures can be easily picked up.

Since its opening round at Rally de Portugal, this international challenge set up by Citroën Racing has grown in stature since it now boasts ten crews competing in DS3 R3s and four teams contesting the title. The truly international series features teams from the former corners of Europe. For the time being, the French drivers lead the way as they currently hold the top three positions in the standings. Championship leader Bryan Bouffier will start as the favourite in Italy. He made the most of his extensive experience to win in style on his first appearance in the Algarve.

“I have competed in Rally Italia Sardegna only once before, in 2007, and it was in a Citroën C2 R2 Max,” recalled the man from the Drôme. “It was a great rally, with narrow, winding roads which can sometimes break up. It was also very hot and we’ll probably get the same weather this year. Obviously, my aim is to finish on the podium because I need to record a good result if I’m to have a chance of competing in Finland. But I saw just how high the standard was in Portugal, so I know it won’t be easy.”

Bryan Bouffier is right to worry, given the eagerness of the two young French drivers on his shoulder in the standings. Sébastien Chardonnet (current leader of the WRC3 category following his win at Rallye Monte Carlo) and Quentin Gilbert (winner of the 2012 France Citroën Racing Trophy) begin the rally with the same desire to win.

For Sébastien, the goal is clear: “We are going to Sardinia with the same objective, to score good points. Our performance level on the gravel in Portugal was reassuring but we also saw just how stiff the competition was. We took part in Rally Adriatico a few weeks ago, and we ended up winning the two-wheel driver category in the DS3 R3. The race also gave us with a chance to work on some of the areas where we came up a little short in order to win in the Algarve. Although we’ve never competed in the Rally Italia Sardegna before, we are just going to give our very best to try and win the race.”

“We really can’t wait to start racing,” commented the man from the Vosges region, Quentin Gilbert. “Although I haven’t competed here before, I know that I’m going to enjoy it because driving on the same roads as the World Rally Championship is fabulous and very rewarding. Our goal is the same as ever: make it to the end and, if possible, finish on the top step of the podium whilst avoiding the mistakes made in Portugal. We’ll have to be fast, consistent and keep out of trouble.”

The three leaders are therefore all highly motivated, but are equally aware of the danger posed by some of the other crews, starting with Alastair Fisher and Keith Cronin. Whilst one was hampered by a technical problem and the other went off, the pace of the two drivers from the British Isles could clearly be seen in Portugal, as they claimed half of the stage wins at the rally between them. Unfortunate at the first event, Christian Riedemann, Francesco Parli, Simone Campedelli and Federico Della Casa will all be determined to improve here and will be starting at a frenetic pace. Finally, another promising new driver is set to throw his hat into the ring. Frenchman Stéphane Consani enters the Citroën Top Driver series with lofty ambitions.

In the teams’ standings, Top Teams leads the way, followed by Delta Rally Team and Sainteloc Racing. Currently lying fourth, Charles Hurst Citroën Belfast’s strong line-up will give it a good chance of moving up the standings. Two new teams will also be making their first outing: BP Racing and Gema Racing Team. As each will only be entering one driver at this event, they will not however be able to score points towards the teams’ championship.

The rally gets underway on Thursday, 20 June with the shakedown, staged towards the end of the morning. The ten Citroën Top Driver crews will then take part in a media training session before heading for Sassari for the ceremonial start, which is due to begin at 7pm.

Citroen Rally Italia sardegna - Preview

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:40 AM

Rally Italia Sardenga, round seven of the World Championship, marks the half-way stage of the season. Ahead of the short summer break, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team crews will be looking to produce strong performances. Winners here last year, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen return to an event where they have always done well. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio will be equally determined to confirm the good form they have enjoyed on ‘hard’ gravel rallies.

Three weeks after the Acropolis Rally, the WRC continues at a round with similar characteristics: Mediterranean climate, stages on gravel roads that are fairly demanding on cars and tyres, and a compact course featuring ‘only’ 300 kilometres of special stages. Although the rally only lasts two days (Friday and Saturday), the organisers have nonetheless made the most of the time available, since the crews will be racing for at least 28 of the 37 hours separating the start from the finish! Mainly made up of tests of between 15 and 20 kilometres in length, the course is being held on stages that are well known to the drivers. The major innovation for this year is the Gallura stage, which will be held under cover of darkness on Saturday night.

Rally Sardegna has often been a happy hunting ground for Mikko Hirvonen. Last year, the Finn claimed his first WRC win in the Citroën DS3 WRC. Before that, he had been runner-up here five times in a row, starting in 2006. “Winning in Sardinia was one of the highlights of my 2012 season,” recalled Mikko. “After a series of podium finishes, I had pushed hard from the word go. My only goal was to win the rally! We have to start from scratch again this year. I think there’ll be a real fight at the front, starting in qualifying, especially as the starting positions that we choose will be used for half of the rally. After a frustrating weekend in Greece, I hope that the pieces of the jigsaw come together to enable us to secure a good result before the summer break.”

Although he missed the event in 2012, Dani Sordo has nonetheless finished as runner-up in Sardinia on two occasions. The Spaniard returns to the event feeling particularly motivated: “We saw in Portugal and then in Greece that I was pretty comfortable on road surfaces offering a good level of grip. That should also be the case in Sardinia! Finishing second at the Acropolis Rally did me a lot of good; it helped me to regain confidence after a bit of a rough patch. Like Mikko, I’m aiming for a very good result this weekend.”

The third works Citroën DS3 WRC, competing for the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team, will be driven by Khalid Al-Qassimi and Scott Martin. The United Arab Emirates driver has finished all three of the rallies he has entered this year, and is now determined to rack up his first points of the season this time around.

Clear winners in WRC2 at the Acropolis Rally, Robert Kubica and Maciej Baran continue their programme in the Citroën DS3 RRC. Ten crews from the Citroën Top Driver series will also line up for Rally Italia Sardegna.

THREE QUESTIONS FOR… DANI SORDO

Were you pleased to have finished as runner-up at the Acropolis Rally?
“Yes, I really needed this kind of result. After a bit of a crazy first stage, I found myself in a good position. Insofar as Mikko had ran into problems, the team asked me to control my pace. I raced for the rest of the rally with this in mind and we were pleased to get back onto the podium and pick up good points for both championships! It was important, first and foremost, to secure this second place, before then aiming higher.”

Are you therefore aiming to win in Sardinia?
“On paper, it’s my kind of rally. I like it when the car, the tyres and the surface combine to give you a good level of grip. We have done quite a lot of work on this with the team. After Portugal and Greece, Sardinia provides us with a chance to confirm the progress we have made. But before thinking about winning, you need to produce the perfect performance and get through several stages: feel confident with the car, set a good time in qualifying to have the best possible starting position, put together a series of stages without any mistakes, etc.”

Among the current crop of WRC drivers, you are the most popular on the various social media. Do you know where this popularity stems from?
“I try to share little bits of my life with my fans, at rallies and elsewhere. You’re right, there are a lot of people who follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, I am quite surprised by how much interest can be generated by a simple photo! In order for my contributions to remain spontaneous, I express myself mainly in my native language and that is very much appreciated by the Spanish-speaking community throughout the world.”

Sardinian Summer Offers Tough Tyre Test For DMACK

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:39 AM

DMACK is hoping to continue its perfect run of Production Cup victories when the FIA World Rally Championship returns to the Mediterranean next week for Rally Italia Sardegna.

DMACK drivers continue to dominate the production section of the WRC2 support championship with Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs claiming victory on the last four events. The company has locked out the top-three Production Cup places with Ricardo Trivino and Juan Carlos Alonso also using DMACK’s gravel tyres in Sardinia next week.

The competitive action will again run in the island’s north-east Costa Smeralda region around its base in Olbia, using the typically fast, narrow roads in the area. And it’s these gravel roads and sandy tracks which make the event pretty demanding for tyre manufacturers.

Some of the first day’s stages feature large sections of very abrasive bedrock and gravel which punish tyres and test durability to the limit. But there’s also large sections of sandy tracks which quickly rut to expose sharp, puncture-inducing rocks on the second pass.

In addition to strength, durability and puncture resistance, DMACK’s runners also demand high levels of performance. The Sardinian roads are fast but quite narrow and a high degree of precision is needed to negotiate the rocks, water splashes and jumps which are familiar sights along the route.

Last year’s event was extremely tough on tyres and organisers have made some changes to this year’s edition which will deliver even more of a challenge. Moving from October to June, crews and tyres will be faced with sweltering summer temperatures. But the event has also been cut to two days with an action-packed itinerary on the cards.

To cope, DMACK has nominated its S3 compound of the DMG+2 gravel tyre and WRC2 drivers can use a maximum of 24 tyres across the 304km of action – a reduction of five tyres from 2012.

Last year’s event was a Sardinian success for DMACK with Fuchs scoring his first ever PWRC victory, a DMACK one-two in Group N and Martin Prokop sealing a top-ten with his Ford Fiesta RS WRC finishing eighth overall.

Event Details

The town of Sassari hosts the ceremonial start on Thursday evening before 16 hours of competition on Friday kicks off with the 31km Monte Lerno test. Famed for the spectacular Micky’s Jump, the stage is also the longest of the rally. Then it’s another two stages, a remote service in Sassari and a repeat of the three-stage loop. Friday’s action is finished with two runs over the Gallura stage to the north of Olbia – the second of which will be in darkness.

Saturday sees two passes over a four-stage loop to the south, punctuated by a visit to the service park, before the ceremonial finish in Olbia. In total the event offers 16 special stages and 304km of action.

Dick Cormack, DMACK motorsport director, said:
“Last year’s event was great for DMACK but the move to June and the reduction in tyre allocation means this year’s event will be even tougher. Sardinia offers a really unique mix of abrasive roads and soft stages – both creating different challenges for our tyres. But we’re confident in our product which is proving popular as the tyre of choice for the Production Cup front-runners.”

Motivated from head to toe – Volkswagen ahead of the Rally Italy

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:38 AM

Full throttle into the second half of the season: when Volkswagen takes on the Rally Italy in Sardinia from 20th to 22nd June, it will be facing the most compact round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. The three Volkswagen teams of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) will line up in the Polo R WRC at the seventh race of the season.

Each of the works pairs has been preparing for the Rally Italy with a number of tests on Sardinia’s gravel roads in the 315-hp four wheel-drive car from Wolfsburg. The goal for the Volkswagen drivers is crystal clear: Jari-Matti Latvala, who recently claimed his first win for Volkswagen in Greece, championship leader Sébastien Ogier, who already has four victories under his belt this season, and Andreas Mikkelsen, who won three of the 14 special stages to finish fourth overall at the latest round of the WRC, have their sights set firmly on victory.

“The Rally Greece showed once and for all that we not only have two drivers capable of winning, in Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier, but also have a future winner in our ranks, in the form of Andreas Mikkelsen. All three have produced outstanding performances recently. We want to take this momentum into Sardinia,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Volkswagen is leading every classification in the overall WRC standings, and two of our drivers currently occupy the top two places in the Drivers’ Championship. That is enough motivation for our drivers, engineers and mechanics to do their very best again in Sardinia. We are looking forward to competing on a par with our opponents again, and to some exciting battles for wins, positions and points.”

Compact but demanding: rallying at its best in the space of just two days

The Rally Italy in Sardinia made its first appearance in the World Rally Championship nine years ago. Since then, towns like Alà dei Sardi, Buddosò, Pattada and the region around Sassari have established themselves as true WRC icons. In 2013, the drivers and teams will face a particularly compact schedule: the special stages will be held on just two days – Friday and Saturday. Each day will feature four special stages, all of which will be run twice. How to sum up the character of the Rally Italy, which takes place between the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) and the island’s harsh interior? High-speed passages, winding sections, spectacular water crossings and a number of formidable jumps. One of the best-known spectator points on the Rally Italy is “Micky’s Jump” on the “Monte Lerno” special stage. About eight kilometres into the stage, the World Rally Cars arrive at this well-known point, at which they are faced with a sudden dip during a quick left-hander. The special stage ends with a difficult descent, during which the brakes are put to the test. Another highlight of the Rally Italy is the most southerly special stage, on which the landscape is as spectacular as the driving. Cork trees line the ever-changing gravel roads on the “Coiluna–Loelle” special stage, which features a bit of everything the Mediterranean island has to offer rally drivers – from narrow, winding streets to wide, flowing roads. This special stage also boasts a breath-taking jump. New to the itinerary is a night stage in Gallura on Friday evening, which promises to provide thrilling rally action in the dark.

Strategy with the overall standings in mind: sights set on victory, but not at all costs

As the season reaches its halfway point – six rounds of the WRC down, a further six to go after Italy – the three Volkswagen crews line up with clear goals. “We should be able to challenge for victory again, but not at all costs. It is vital to come away with as many points as possible, and to tighten our grip on the top spots in the overall standings,” says Jost Capito. The rally in Sardinia may not be as extreme as the last round in Greece, but the tricky gravel roads must be attacked with due care in order to avoid putting too much strain on the car and tyres. “Here too, the key is to find the right balance between the desire to attack and a cautious pace to suit the situation in hand. Our three teams have achieved this very well so far,” added Capito.

Back on the big stage – where it all began for the Polo R WRC

The big stage in 2011 is now the big stage in 2013: the international public caught its first glimpse of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC in Sardinia. The first concept model of the World Rally Car “made in Wolfsburg” was presented on the Costa Smeralda in May 2011. Two years later, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC is back at the same location as one of the hot favourites for stage wins and overall victory. The Polo R WRC now has 104 special stages under its belt in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), of which it has won an impressive 56, with the Volkswagen crews also claiming four overall victories and a further four podiums.

Preparations for the second half of the season: testing in Sardinia

The Volkswagen works team has been hard at work testing in preparation for the Rally Italy in Sardinia. Two weeks before the start in Olbia, the three driver/co-driver pairings of Latvala/Anttila, Ogier/Ingrassia and Mikkelsen/Markkula each spent a day working on the set-up of the Polo R WRC. The main focus was on the differential set-up. ?

Quotes ahead of the Rally Italy

Jari-Matti Latvala, Polo R WRC #7
“I like the Rally Italy. It has a few very quick stages. You pass very close to rocks and trees at high speed, so you have to be really accurate. The ground is actually relatively hard and stony, but is normally covered by a thick layer of sand. For this reason, the grip is not perfect and the stages become very slippery. As such, it is not easy to find a good set-up. However, I think we found a good basis in Greece. I hope I can be up there challenging for victory again at other rallies this year. However, our main goal is to score as many points as possible in the Manufacturers’ Championship. The most important thing is to be consistent and quick over the remainder of the season.”

Sébastien Ogier, Polo R WRC #8
“Compared to Greece, the Rally Italy could well be a bit easier on the car. The ground is sandy in parts, so very soft. The heat will play a key role at this rally, as Sardinia is usually very warm at the end of June. Given the high temperatures, we will probably go with the hard compound. However, we are also aware that the softer variant generally works better on a sandy surface. It will be all about finding the right compromise to suit the conditions we actually face when we get there. One thing is clear: after the Rally Greece, which was not particularly easy for us, we want to get back on the front foot in Sardinia.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Polo R WRC #9
“I had an excellent weekend in Greece. To win three special stages and pick up a point on the Power Stage is a very good result – fourth place is my best finish so far in the WRC. I just want to continue as I have been doing so far. We have improved consistently since making our debut in the Polo R WRC in Portugal. As such, I am really looking forward to Sardinia. You can attack more at the Rally Italy than in Greece, as the material is not subjected to such great strain. We have also taken another step forwards in terms of the set-up, thanks to the tests ahead of the Rally Italy, during which we primarily worked on the differential.”

EVANS STEPS IN FOR AL-ATTIYAH TO CLAIM WRC DEBUT IN SARDINIA

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:37 AM

Having had to forfeit his entry for next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna, Nasser Al-Attiyah has offered his Qatar World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC to M-Sport’s latest talent – 2012 FIA WRC Academy Cup winner, Elfyn Evans.

Forced to miss the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) due to commitments in Qatar, Al-Attiyah thought it only fit that his seat go to the rising Welsh star – presenting Evans with his World Rally Car debut somewhat earlier than expected.

Al-Attiyah’s co-driver, Giovanni Bernacchini, will co-pilot the Welshman throughout the Sardinian stages – his extensive knowledge something the youngster will be eager to capitalise on during an event he has never previously contested; let alone behind the wheel of M-Sport’s top-specification Fiesta.

Despite being unable to score team points for the Qatar World Rally Team, Evans will be eligible for WRC driver points. But the youngster won’t be concentrating on the top points next week. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, the Welshman aims to further increase his knowledge and experience ahead of a long-awaited return to the WRC 2 category with the all-new Ford Fiesta R5 at Neste Oil Rally Finland.

Elfyn Evans said:
“This is another absolutely fantastic opportunity for me and I want to say a huge thank-you to Nasser [Al-Attiyah] and Malcolm [Wilson] for considering me for the drive. “It will be great to get back behind the wheel in competition, but it will certainly be a challenging event! This will be my first time in Sardinia, my first time in a WRC car and my first time with Giovanni [Bernacchini, co-driver]. But with the team behind me and Giovanni’s extensive experience, I know that I will be in capable hands.

“My aim for the event is just to enjoy it and gain further experience. I’m learning all the time, and if I can make it through all of the stages on this tricky event then I’ll be happy. The most important thing at the moment is to get as much competitive seat time as possible, and that will be my main goal next weekend.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It is a huge shame that Nasser [Al-Attiyah] won’t be with the team in Sardinia, but unfortunately he has commitments back home in Qatar. Elfyn [Evans] thoroughly deserves this opportunity. He is learning fast, and as he works towards more rounds during the latter half of the season, the added competition – this time behind the wheel of the [Ford] Fiesta RS WRC – will be extremely valuable.”

Rally Guide / Event Website / Details

Posted: June 16, 2013 9:36 AM






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