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Italy - 5-8 Jun 14

Posted: June 7, 2014 10:56 PM - 3087 Hits

Round 6 - 2014 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Italy 2014) | Also available at: rally-base results
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: irallylive.com | www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Italia

First stage each day
Time are Ireland/UK (Sardinia is 1 hours ahead.)
SS1 - Thu - 20:06 (Superspecial)
SS2 Fri - 10:35
SS9 Sat - 08:18
SS14 Sun - 06:39

McCormack ready for his Italian job

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:19 PM

Benny Hill won’t be there. And nor will Michael Caine. Nobody will be blowing any bloody doors off. And no gold will be stolen.

Forty-five years after the original, Marty McCormack will lead his own team on his very own Italian Job. With less involvement from the Carabinieri and, hopefully, no driving through a sewage network, McCormack will emerge from his Mini Cooper S, er, Ford Fiesta R5 with the right result.

The analogy with a movie once voted the 27th greatest British film of all time is being stretched here.

Marty and his TigerRisk team won’t be in the Italian Alps. They’re not going to Switzerland and they definitely won’t be racing around the roof of Fiat’s Lingotto building in Turin.

They will be in Italy. Just not on the mainland.

Instead, Marty and his co-driver David Moynihan will be heading for Alghero on Sardinia’s north-west coast. From there, with Hankook tyres beneath them and an M-Sport-built Fiesta around them, they will do WRC 2 battle down some of the finest gravel roads in the world.

Marty spent two days developing 2015-specification tyres with Hankook in northern Italy (and no, he didn’t see a Lamborghini Miura go off the side of a mountain and nor did he drive a bus) earlier this month. That time offered him both a fascinating insight into tyre technology and valuable time in the car.

It also made Marty more desperate than ever to get back in the car.

“It’s just fantastic to drive,” said the two-time British Junior Rally Champion. “I’ve learned a lot since my first event in the car in Portugal last month and one of the main things David and I have been working on is my pacenotes.”

The pacenotes contain the vital information collated on two reconnaissance runs through the stages, taken in a standard road car at no more than 70kph/43mph. Moynihan then calls the notes back to McCormack when the two are competing at full-speed during the rally. The notes describe the road and the corners ahead. While Marty has plenty of experience of making pacenotes, the way he describes the road is different for a four-wheel drive car; the braking point and speed carried through the corner varies considerably from the two-wheel drive machinery he has driven previously.

“I’ve tried to simplify my pacenotes,” said Marty. “I’ve worked on things like the angle of entry for the corner, which will help me translate what I’m hearing into the speed I need to be carrying at the apex.”

And there will be lots of apexes to be clipped on 17 stages next week – but most of them will come on Saturday’s Monte Lerno stage. More than 500 marshals will line the route of the 36-mile test which runs in the morning and afternoon. Getting through Monte Lerno will be a challenge in itself.

“It’s that stage that I’ve been focused on during all those hours in the gym,” said McCormack. “From what I’ve seen, the road is quite twisty and it’s going to be very, very hard work – which is why fitness, focus and hydration have been key to my preparations for this round.”

In terms of results, Marty is well aware of the experience of those around him.

He added: “You look at guys like Nasser [Al-Attiyah] and [Ott] Tanak and they’ve done this event a few times and have so much experience of the cars. I have to be realistic and understand that, on my second event in the car, I’m not going to beat them on speed. What I will be doing on this event is erring on the side of caution and finding a balance between speed and consistency; we saw on the last WRC 2 round in Argentina (Rally Argentina wasn’t one of Marty’s nominated rallies) that a sensible approach can bring rich reward – that will be what we’re chasing in Sardinia.”

In terms of tyres, the primary choice for Marty will be Hankook’s hard gravel cover (H1) with 16 alternative, soft-compound (S1) tyres available in case of wet or colder than expected weather.

And, once the job’s done, Marty will join the boys on the back of the bus. The bus bound for the airport, that is. Not Switzerland.

And, before we go, over to Charlie Croker. He’s got a great idea…

Kruuda to make WRC 2 return in new Peugeot

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:17 PM

Karl Kruuda will join the R5 revolution in Sardinia next week when he returns to World Rally Championship action at the wheel of a Peugeot 208T16.

The 21-year-old Estonian ace is switching to the new-generation machine having made two appearances in the 2014 WRC 2 category in a Ford Fiesta Super 2000.

Kruuda, who won his class on Rally Sweden in February and holds a strong fourth place in the WRC 2 title standings, says a new car will mean a new approach to the gravel event, which takes place from June 5-8.

“I still have a lot to learn about the car because I’ve only done one small test and one local rally in Estonia,” said Kruuda. “That means I don’t have the confidence yet to push to the limit of the car. I will take it a bit easier at the start, not like my last WRC rally in Portugal where I was pushing quite a lot. The main goal is to bring the car to the finish and if there are problems then we will use the rally to solve them.”

Having spent much of his recent career driving normally aspirated Ford Fiestas, Kruuda says he’s still adapting to the turbocharged Peugeot, which is being run by the Tagai Racing Technology team from Hungary.

“Getting used to the turbo is one thing but also going from a six-speed gearbox to the five-speed gearbox is not easy,” he said. “My pace notes are written according to the gear I am in more or less and with the five-speed gearbox it can be hard to understand what gear to use.”

With turbocharged cars beginning to dominate the WRC 2 category this season, Kruuda’s switch to the Peugeot is a logical step. However, Rally Italia Sardegna will effectively serve as a high-speed test drive, even though his car will be emblazoned with a traditional Karl Kruuda-style striking livery.

“We did the Harju Ralli in Estonia in this car and we will use it in Sardinia next as part of a two-event deal made by my management company, V&V Sport Management,” Kruuda explained. “Then we will have big discussions about what to do next. I hope we will continue with this car but if I am not happy in the car there is a possibility we will go back to the Super 2000 car. One thing I can say for sure is that we’re still working on the full colour scheme for later this year.”

The 10th anniversary Rally Italia Sardegna covers a competitive distance of 364.92 kilometres over 17 special stages from its new base of Alghero in the northwest of the island. The action begins with a 1.30-kilometre stage in the capital Cagliari to the far south on the evening of Thursday June 5 followed by three days of action on rough and tough gravel stages in the centre north of the island.

Ogier vs. Latvala, round six – Volkswagen ahead of the Rally Italy

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:15 PM

The duel for the overall lead in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is once again Polo R WRC against Polo R WRC at round six of the WRC. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) line up at the Rally Italy (05–08 June), each with the goal of improving their position in the World Championship. One pair has its sights set on extending its lead, whilst the other is looking to leapfrog their team-mates in the Drivers’/Co-Drivers’ Championship. As such, there is every chance that the all-Volkswagen duel between World Champion and challenger – or first against second in this year’s championship – will be just as thrilling as it was at the latest round in Argentina. Ogier currently leads Latvala by 24 points. Their closest rival: fellow Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen (N), who lines up alongside his former co-driver Ola Fløene (N) in the pinnacle of rallying for the first time. Mikkelsen is a further 40 points behind Latvala.

“Volkswagen currently finds itself in a privileged situation in the World Rally Championship,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “The whole team is working hard and focussed on success, and is consistently providing our three drivers with top material. Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen are paying them back in the form of outstanding performances and first-class results. First second and third in the Drivers’ Championship and first place in the Manufacturers’ Championship are emphatic proof of this. Fans in Italy and those watching the WRC from home can once again look forward to fair and top-class motorsport. I have to say: anyone who does not follow the action on Sardinia will miss out.”

Typical Volkswagen: team orders a no-no in the fight for the World Championship

May the best man win: Ogier and Latvala line up at the start in two technically identical Volkswagen Polo R WRCs, both generating a mighty 315 hp. Out on the route, the two Volkswagen drivers are free to battle it out amongst themselves for World Championship points, podiums and, where possible, race wins. Although the duel at the top of the World Championship is an all-Volkswagen affair, the race for victory at the Rally Italy is wide open: the three Volkswagen Polo R WRCs are joined by another dozen rapid World Rally Cars at the Rally Italy – from manufacturers Citroën, Ford and Hyundai. And the challenges facing the competitors at the Rally Italy are set to add a little extra spice to the World Championship race.

No room for drifting – precision and a clever tyre strategy the key

The Rally Italy is the fourth gravel rally in a row, and features narrow sections on a layer of loose, fine sand. Long stretches of the route are also lined by boulders close to the road edge. Anyone drifting excessively risks destroying their suspension. As well as a neat driving style, the drivers must also be able to take good care of their tyres. The drivers in the top category – WRC – have access to a maximum 25 tyres, as well as the four they use for the shakedown. And the heat could also play a role at the Rally Italy: the summer temperatures found on Sardinia in June may be pleasant for those relaxing on the beach, but not so for those in the cockpit of the WRC cars on the Rally Italy’s long stages.

From Olbia to Alghero: new rally base, same character

For the first time since 2004, when the Rally Italy was held on Sardinia for the first time, the rally is based in Alghero. The town of 40,000 inhabitants on the west side of the island, also known as “Little Barcelona” replaces Olbia as the venue for the Service Park. The event opens in Cagliari this year. One thing that remains unchanged is the basic character of the Rally Italy. Just 74.65 of the 364.92 kilometres against the clock are different to last year. Two special stages have been combined to form the new “Monte Lerno” stage – at 59.13 kilometres, the longest encountered on the 2014 WRC calendar so far. The itinerary consists of a total of 17 special stages. The final “Cala Flumini” stage also forms the Power Stage, with bonus points towards the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship up for grabs for the top three duos. The stage, which is held at 12:08 on the Sunday of the rally, will be broadcast live on TV.

Night over Cagliari, take off on Monte Lerno – the highlights

The 2014 Rally Italy gets off to a spectacular start with the “Citta’ Di Cagliari” special stage. At 21:13 on Thursday, 27 minutes after sunset, the World Rally Cars will set off on a brief 1.30-kilometre charge through the harbour district near the town centre – the only tarmac stage. However, the real highlight of the Rally Italy is “Micky’s Jump” on the Monte Lerno stage. The legendary jump, which comes after a right-hander and sees the cars take off before landing on a downslope, was crowned “FIA Motorsport Moment of the Year” in 2013 – when Sébastien Ogier’s Polo R WRC landed perfectly in the dip.

Norwegian – the language of speed: familiar “newcomer” Ola Fløene

The new and old pairing of Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) is making its debut in the Polo R WRC. In the popular Ola Fløene, Mikkelsen has turned to the first co-driver of his rally career: the two Norwegians paired up between 2006 and 2012, winning back-to-back titles in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship in the 2011 and 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) – now the European Rally Championship. In 2012 they were also involved in Volkswagen Motorsport’s apprentice year in the WRC, when the team and drivers contested the season in a Škoda Fabia Super 2000. Andreas Mikkelsen and his previous co-driver Mikko Markkula split by mutual agreement. For Mikkelsen this means switching back to Norwegian in the cockpit, while the further-developed system of pace notes remains unchanged.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Italy

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“After the extremely rough and muddy stages in Argentina, I am really looking forward to the rally on Sardinia. The quick gravel routes are far better suited to my driving style. As first out onto the route on Friday, it may be particularly difficult for Julien and me on the loose sand, but I still think I have a good chance of winning. I have always felt very comfortable on Sardinia and my results have always been good here. As of late, my toughest rival will be my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. And I can promise Jari-Matti and the fans: it will definitely be a spectacular and exciting duel.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“There are a few rallies on the WRC calendar, to which I particularly look forward – and the Rally Italy is one of them. The surface is a little like the Rally Portugal, although the corners in Italy are more easily visible. The surface is also more slippery than in Portugal, because the top layer is very sandy. However, there will also be greater grip once the route has been ‘cleared’ by a few cars. The streets are pretty narrow and the trees and rocks can be very close. Despite this, it does not take long to find a rhythm on the special stages. There is little room for drifting, so we will have to be careful and not apply too much pressure at the start. Last year we were fastest in qualifying in the Polo R WRC, but unfortunately we then suffered a puncture on the opening special stage. Miikka and I did manage to fight our way back to third place, however. After the win in Argentina, I obviously travel to Italy full of confidence and with my sights set on challenging for another victory. My goal is to finish in the top three.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“It is great to have Ola back in the cockpit. We might not have been able to tests prior to the Rally Italy, but I don’t think that will be a problem. We have both known each other for such a long time, and have only been apart for a short time. We will not change anything with regards the pace notes – apart from the fact that they will now be in Norwegian again, rather than English. Whatever happens, the goal will be to complete a clean, error-free rally. A top-five result would ultimately be fantastic. If you analyse previous years at the Rally Sardinia, you will see that many drivers have been hit by punctures or retirements. As such, the priority will be not to do anything stupid and to look after the car. I am particularly looking forward to the ‘Monte Lerno’ special stage with Mickey’s Jump, which is a genuine highlight every year. At almost 60 kilometres it is the longest stage of the year so far. It doesn’t make much difference to me whether it is a long stage or a short one, as I believe I am in good physical condition. However, alternating between short sprints and long special stages is good for the drivers, co-drivers and spectators. And the Rally Italy does exactly that.”

Three questions for … Ola Fløene

You are back alongside Andreas Mikkelsen and line up with him in the Polo R WRC for the first time at the Rally Italy. How does that feel?
Fløene: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. A week ago I visited the team headquarters of Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover for the first time for over a year. That was a bit like I was dreaming. The first thing I did was to go and say hello to the mechanics in the workshop. I was given a warm welcome, with lots of backslapping from the mechanics and engineers. It was an emotional moment.”

Last season you won the Junior class in the WRC alongside Pontus Tidemand, and claimed the third big title of your career in the process. How did you personally benefit from that year?
Fløene: “Lining up as a co-driver in the JWRC was a fantastic experience last year. It gave me a new life and competitive spirit, and restored my love of rallying. And I trained for up to 16 hours per day – for 18 months – in order to prove my fitness alongside against the young athletes. As such, I am not only ultra-motivated, but also the fittest I have ever been.”

How will the pace notes change for Andreas?
Fløene: “Firstly: we will revert to speaking Norwegian in the car. Other than that, there is little reason to change anything major with regard the pace notes. My predecessor Mikko Markkula introduced some good things to the system, from which we will now benefit. Previously we used two or three words to describe a situation. Mikko reduced that to just one. This makes the pace notes more precise and, above all, quicker. You could say that Mikko has made my life easier.”

The number for the Rally Italy: 18

18 starts with the Polo R WRC, 18 points finishes – this is the flawless record held by Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia coming into the Rally Italy. The Volkswagen duo has never been outside the points since the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2013. Their team-mates and World Championship rivals Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila also boast an impressive run of points finishes: they have scored points 17 times in a row since the 2013 Rally Sweden. Both duos have one goal: to one day pass the all-time record of 28 consecutive points finishes held by record World Champion Sébastien Loeb (Citroën).

Tänak Hopes Experience Will Help DMACK In Sardinia

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:14 PM

Next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna, round six of the FIA World Rally Championship, is set to be another huge test for DMACK with the challenging road conditions and high temperatures promising to punish both tyres and cars.

While the event boasts a number of significant changes this year, the tough gravel roads across the north of the Mediterranean island remain and, together with long stage distances, will prove DMACK’s puncture resistance and durability.

Drive DMACK World Rally Team driver Ott Tänak is hoping for a strong result in Sardinia after retirement on the first day of Rally Argentina. He’s already proved his speed in the Autotek Ford Fiesta R5 this year, using DMACK’s DMG+2 tyre to win every single stage he completed at Rally Mexico in March. He’s also a fan of the tricky Sardinian stages after finishing on the podium with third overall in 2012 driving a Fiesta RS WRC.

Tänak will again use DMACK’s nominated hard compound S3 tyre in Sardinia. He will also have a maximum of 16 pieces of the soft S6 available should it be deemed to provide an advantage on the soft or damp stages. In total, WRC 2 crews will be allowed a maximum of 24 tyres for the event.

Alongside Tänak, DMACK will equip 10 drivers in the WRC 2 series including Quentin Gilbert, Nicolas Fuchs, Egon Kaur and Saleh Bin Eidan – all in Fiesta R5s.

Competitors are set to face a new-style event with a familiar feel when the rally kicks off next Thursday evening in Sardinia. The action starts with an all-new start ceremony and super special stage in Cagliari – the island’s capital on the southern coast. While the service park and Rally HQ moves across the island from Olbia to Alghero in the west, many of the stages remain the same.

Sardinia is renowned for its mix of conditions. Many of the narrow, forest roads have an initial soft, sandy base which kicks up huge dust clouds in the dry. But, on the second pass, these roads can become deeply rutted and expose piercing rocks. There are also a number of extremely abrasive sections which can scrub away rubber and really test tyre durability.

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.

Event Details

Teams head south to Cagliari to tackle the opening super special stage on Thursday evening – which they will recce in their competition cars. Then it’s back to the north of the island for a loop of four stages to the west of Alghero which is repeated in the afternoon after service.

Saturday features just four tests but is easily the toughest challenge of the week. Crews will contest the mammoth 59.13km Monte Lerno stage twice during the day. Featuring the famous Mickey’s Jump, which launches cars high into the air, the lengthy run in the Mediterranean sun will punish crews, cars and tyres. Sunday’s final four stages finish with a flourish taking drivers to Sassari following by a blast over the power stage along the coast to the north of Alghero.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said:
“Sardinia offers a really unique mix of abrasive roads and soft stages – both creating different challenges for our tyres. Some of the distances, especially on Saturday, will force drivers to think about how they manage their tyre allocation. Hopefully Ott can have some better luck on this event to take a solid finish and really boost his WRC 2 challenge.”

Ott Tänak said:
“This is the only event where I’ve scored a WRC podium so it has good memories for me and I enjoy the stages. This year will be a little different with some new roads but the plan is still to have a problem-free run. We will drive at our own rhythm and pace as, after a poor result in Argentina, we need to have a good finish here to give our championship hopes a real boost.”

BACK TO WHERE IT BEGAN FOR THE PIRELLI SCORPION WRC TYRE

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:13 PM

Pirelli’s Scorpion tyre will be used to equip a host of privateer drivers when the World Rally Championship heads to Sardinia next week for Rally Italia Sardegna (June 5-8) and the Italian tyre company’s home round of the WRC.

Pirelli used the island and its demanding gravel roads for much of its WRC tyre development activities, which underlines just how challenging the stages and temperatures can be.

To mark 10 years since Sardinia first hosted Italy’s round of the WRC, organisers have included a stage in the capital Cagliari for the first time with the 1.30-kilometre Tarmac test opening the competitive action on the evening of Thursday June 5. That will be followed by a further 16 all-gravel stages from Friday until Sunday. In total there will be 364.92 timed kilometres with the event getting a new base in Alghero in the northwest of the island.

Pirelli drivers in Sardinia

Pirelli’s driver line-up for Rally Italia Sardegna features an array of star performers including WRC podium finisher and stage winner Henning Solberg, WRC 2 title pacesetter and new Pirelli customer Yuriy Protasov, championship chaser and top Italian Lorenzo Bertelli, runaway WRC 2 Production leader Max Rendina, Bernardo Sousa, the winner of the recent European championship-counting Rallye Acores, plus one of the rising stars of the ERC, the 20-year-old Russian Vasily Gryazin.

The Pirelli crews contesting Rally Italia Sardegna are:

    16 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)
    32 Yuriy Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta RRC)
    33 Max Rendina/Mario Pizzuti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) ?
    37 Lorenzo Bertelli/Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta RRC)
    43 Bernardo Sousa/Hugo Magalhaes (Ford Fiesta RRC)
    44 Julien Maurin/Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta R5)
    83 Vasily Gryazin/Dmitry Eremeev (Mini John Cooper Works S2000)
    88 Fabio Frisiero/Simone Scattolin (Subaru Impreza R4 STI)

    The tyres available

    Pirelli will supply its hard compound Scorpion XR5 tyres for the warm and dry conditions, plus the option Scorpion XR7 in the event of cool temperatures and damp stage surfaces. The XR pattern’s internal structure means that the tyre is resistant to rocks and other impacts, while the sidewall is also reinforced to protect against punctures, a frequent hazard when the narrow gravel surface becomes rutted for the second usage and rocks are exposed. The new XR is a symmetrical (non-directional) tyre, which makes each tyre interchangeable on either side of the car: a key advantage when it comes to strategy.

    The rules

    One prime compound is nominated per gravel event (the hard compound in Sardinia) with limited quantities of a softer option compound also available in case of unexpected cool and damp weather conditions. Henning Solberg, Pirelli’s World Rally Car representative in Sardinia will have an allocation of 25 tyres for the event (plus four for shakedown) making a total of 29 tyres, while the WRC 2 drivers have an allocation of 20 tyres for the event (plus four for the shakedown) making 24 tyres in total. ?The hard compound XR5 is the prime nomination, with the softer XR7 available as the option.

    Quotes

    Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:
    “Sardinia is one of the most important rallies on our calendar, and we’re particularly pleased to be back in the World Rally Championship this year on our home territory in Italy. As well as that, it’s also a round of the Italian Rally Championship, so there will be plenty of our products out on the challenging stages. Sardinia is one of the most demanding events of the entire year due to the nature of the surface, which becomes rutted with sharp rocks exposed. Frequently we also experience very warm ambient temperatures in Sardinia as well. This makes Sardinia a true test for the tyres, requiring durability as well as performance. Our focus this year is firmly on privateer drivers, so we wish them the best of luck, as we aim to give them all the best possible opportunities for tyres to make a difference.”

CITROËN RACING SEEK SARDINIAN SUCCESS

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:10 PM

CITROËN AND RALLY ITALIA: WINS IN SANREMO AND SARDINIA

Held on roads around Sanremo from 1970 and then in Sardinia from 2004 onwards, Rally Italia has seen a Citroën winner on six different occasions.

The French car maker’s first win on Italian tarmac was claimed by Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena on their way to securing Citroën its first WRC Manufacturers’ title in 2003.

Since the WRC event switched to Sardinian gravel roads in 2004, Citroën Racing has won five times out of nine.Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena racked up wins in 2005, 2006 (Xsara WRC), 2008 (C4 WRC) and 2011 (DS3 WRC) before Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen succeeded them in 2012, also in a Citroën DS3 WRC.

HARNESS THE FULL POTENTIAL

With two new crews competing on its behalf in the 2014 World Championship, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team had been prepared to experience a period of adaptation in the early part of the season.Having secured four podium-finishes in five rallies, the team has maintained a high level of performance and currently holds second place in the Manufacturers’ standings, whilst Mads Østberg lies third in the Drivers’ championship.

“We are looking to harness the full potential of the car and the drivers,” recalled Marek Nawarecki, Deputy Team Principal.“Our objective is the same in Sardinia.The work done on developing the Citroën DS3 WRC enables us to meet the expectations of our drivers.Mads has a lot of experience in Sardinia, whereas Kris is more familiar with this rally than the ones earlier in the season.These are strengths of which we must take advantage.”

On roads around the new base of Alghero, the crews will be faced with some new challenges.“It’s a tough event, but that is true of every World Rally Championship round.To prepare as effectively as possible, we ran a test session on the island on roads that were very similar to those we’ll face in the rally itself,” continued Marek Nawarecki.“By combining our experience and the feelings of Mads and Kris, we were able to improve the set-up of the Citroën DS3 WRC.Both our drivers seem very happy with the handling and balance of their car.That’s our aim: give them the opportunity to express themselves on the stages.”

MADS ØSTBERG AIMS HIGHER

Third in the WRC, Mads Østberg has considerable experience of Sardinia.The Norwegian has competed here every time the event has featured on the World Championship calendar since 2007.

“I have done pretty well at this event, over the years,” emphasized Mads.“I have some good memories of racing here.The route is very technical and the grip level varies on the different runs.It is particularly important to take good pace notes here.You have to be able to adapt your pace when conditions on the stages change.”

During the recent tests in Sardinia, the Norwegian was able to work on the set-up of his Citroën DS3 WRC:“We found solutions that should enable us to be even more competitive on this kind of surface.I think we can be fast in Sardinia and I have quite a lot of experience at the event.So I’m going to push a bit harder from the start to try to get among the frontrunners.The target, as always, is to finish on the podium but I’m hoping to mix it with the leaders.”

KRIS MEEKE LOOKS TO BUILD HIS CONFIDENCE

After a series of three rallies which were totally new to him, Kris Meeke showed that the slightest bit of experience could be a major advantage.A few years after his one and only previous appearance at Rally Argentina, he finished third in his Citroën DS3 WRC in Carlos Paz.In Sardinia, the Briton will be to call upon the experience he acquired during four starts between 2004 and 2011.

In the Junior WRC – where he grabbed a podium finish in the category in a Citroën C2 Super 1600 – the IRC and the WRC, Kris has tasted the lot on the Italian island:“It’s a typically Mediterranean round.The roads are narrow, fast, slippery and littered with big rocks!We’ll also have to see what the new sections have in store for us.In many ways, it’ll be a new rally for us and we’ll be starting from scratch in recce.”

“We were very much on the pace during day one in Argentina,” added the British driver.I hope we’ll have the same speed in Sardinia.I have to keep this positive momentum going into Rally Poland so that I can head into the second half of the season, where I know the events better, full of confidence!”

A TEST OF ENDURANCE FOR KHALID AL QASSIMI

Currently lying second in the Middle East Rally Championship, Khalid Al Qassimi will be taking part in the third of the four WRC rounds included in his programme this season.Having made it to the finish in Sweden and Portugal, the Abu Dhabi driver is expecting another tough challenge in Sardinia.

“I haven‘t always made it to the end of this rally,” recalled Sheikh Khalid.“You have to find the right balance between pushing and staying on the road.The roads on the stages are fast and narrow.There is no room for error whatsoever, because there are rocks and trees just off the racing line.”

The biggest challenge will be the stage that is almost sixty kilometres long on day two.That will be a real test of endurance.We are going to take part in some testing this week with Citroën DS3 WRC to find the right set-up.I can’t wait to start!”

FROM CAGLIARI TO ALGHERO

In 2004, the Italians left Sanremo and Liguria behind, taking the World Rally Championship to Sardinia.Having initially set up base in Olbia, facing the Tyrrhenian Sea, the rally has this year moved to Alghero on the west coast of the island.

Recce will get underway on Tuesday, 3 June from 8am.Two days later, the shakedown will be held on a 3.38 kilometre-long stage (Putifigari) located around fifteen kilometres from the service park.

The rally will get underway two hundred kilometres further south in Cagliari, with the opening stage held along the port and broadcast live on television.

Overnight, the WRCs will be shipped by truck back to Alghero.On Friday, four stages will be completed two times, with runs on Terranova Nord (20km, 11.35am and 3.57pm), Terranova Sud (12.4km, 12.13pm and 4.35pm), Coiluna-Crastazza (20.29km, 1.08pm and 5.30pm) and Loelle (27.30km, 1.44pm and 6.06pm).A remote fifteen-minute service period will be held in the middle of the day in Buddusò.The cars are expected to arrive in parc ferme at Alghero from around 10.00pm.

Saturday’s schedule features only four stages, but the distance covered is more or less the same as the day before.After warming up on Monte Olia (19.27km, 9.18am and 4.54pm), the drivers will take on the long Monte Lerno test (59.13km, 10.23am and 5.59pm).This lengthy stage, just shy of sixty kilometres, features a spectacular jump which invariably provides some great images for the end-of-season highlights.

On Sunday, Cala Flumini (8.98km, 7.39am), Castelsardo (14km, 9.20am) and Tergu-Osilo (14.88km, 10.02am) precede the Power Stage, a second pass on Cala Flumini, which is due to start at 12.08pm.The rally is scheduled to finish in Alghero from 1.45pm.

WRC2 DEBUT FOR THE CITROËN DS3 R5 AND SÉBASTIEN CHARDONNET

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:08 PM

Based on the FIA’s new regulations, Citroën is set to unleash the new flagship model of its customer racing line-up in the World Rally Championship.

The Citroën DS3 R5 shares much of its DNA and characteristics with its big sister, the DS3 WRC:1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged engine, four-wheel drive, sequential gearbox and McPherson suspension.It is designed to prepare young drivers for the upper echelons of the sport.

Homologated on 1st April, the Citroën DS3 R5 made its first competitive outing at this year’s Rallye di Sanremo.Sébastien Chardonnet now has the privilege of driving it on its debut appearance in the World Rally Championship.

Marek Nawarecki, Customer Racing Manager for Citroën Racing, believes that this brand new model marks Citroën’s return to a promising market:
“It was important to have this kind of four-wheel drive product in our line-up.The driver development approach is now very well established with DS3 R1, DS3 R3 and DS3 R5, right up to the pinnacle, the DS3 WRC.The DS3 R5 is a car that is the perfect training tool for promising young drivers.It gives them the chance to show off their skills in national championships and the European Rally Championship and acquire experience in the World Championship.”

Who better than Sébastien Chardonnet to drive the Citroën DS3 R5 on its World Championship debut to demonstrate the driver development approach adopted by Citroën Racing?

“Sébastien Chardonnet illustrates perfectly what we are trying to put in place, in order to help talented young drivers.He began his career in the Citroën Racing Trophy before gathering more experience in a DS3 R3.He is the perfect example of a driver that is ready to bloom in WRC2.It’s going to be a great challenge for him.We hope he will acquire as much experience as possible in Italy to be able to keep improving throughout the season.”

Runner-up in the French Junior Rally Championship in 2011, now organised in partnership with Citroën Racing, Sébastien scored his first World Championship points at the 2012 Rallye de France – Alsace in a Citroën DS3 WRC.

In 2013, he became WRC3 champion and won the Citroën Top Driver with five podium finishes and two wins in a Citroën DS3 R3.His performances in 2013 have given him the chance to continue to improve this season, driving a Citroën DS3 R5 at six rounds of the WRC2 championship.

“It’s quite a big step up for me,” admitted Sébastien.“I had the chance to take part in the development of the DS3 R5 during the winter and start racking up the miles in a four-wheel drive car.Although I clearly needed some time to adapt, I found my old reflexes came back from when I used to race on circuit. And I really enjoyed driving the car.”

In Italy, Sébastien Chardonnet begins his WRC2 season:“My aim is to fine-tune my driving style and acquire some experience with the car in the World Championship.I am a real competitor at heart. I always want to win.But you always need to go through a period of learning first, and you can’t afford to ignore that.I know that racking up the miles is not only very important for me but for Citroën Racing too.I am treating this first rally with the respect it deserves. I’m very determined to work hard now and hopefully, I’ll reap the rewards in the future!”

M-SPORT GEAR UP FOR ALGHERO

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:06 PM

Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans will be seeking further success as the M-Sport World Rally Team gear up for Alghero and next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna. The sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) provides a favoured hunting ground for both drivers, and the team have their sights firmly set on a strong result.

Beyond the glitzy coastal glamour, Sardinia’s rugged mountains, ancient forests and unspoiled rural terrain make it ideal rallying territory. This year sees a move from the traditional base in Olbia to the western town of Alghero, but with 60 per cent of the stages unchanged the event has lost none of its charm.

Regarded as a technical challenge, the route may be narrow but it is also extremely fast. A thin layer of sandy gravel masks the harder surface beneath and the stages are lined with treacherous trees and rocks. Leaving little room for error, Rally Italia truly favours the brave.

Having secured six top-two finishes in Sardinia – including a win in 2012 – Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen are regarded as one of the boldest partnerships in the championship. Having made an uncharacteristic mistake on the previous outing in Argentina, the pairing came back fighting. Fearless through the tricky conditions that blighted the final day’s rallying, they looked to be in a league of their own; taking more than half a minute out of their nearest rivals through a single fog-plagued stage. Hirvonen has a strong affiliation with Italy having spent much of 2002 competing in a number of the country’s regional events. Now, having truly reacquainted himself with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, the Finn will be looking to channel all of his experience and skill into another strong result.

Evans also harbours a soft spot for the Italian isle. Having made his world rally car debut at the event last year, next week’s outing provides the only rally of the year at which the Welshman has already experienced the power and performance of the Fiesta RS WRC.

Last year’s outing provided something of a novelty for the youngster. Plunged into the unknown, Evans tackled the rally for the first time with just three days preparation. With a new car and a new co-driver, he overcame all the odds. Eclipsing the efforts of the WRC’s most recent champions on their equivalent debuts, the Welshman secured a sensational sixth place finish which prompted his promotion to the WRC’s highest league.

But Evans won’t let the familiar circumstances draw his focus. Determined to continue his development, the youngster has been working hard to ensure that he is in the best possible position to continue his progression. Having studied all of his notes and onboard videos from the previous year, the M-Sport man also travelled out to Sardinia a little earlier than planned to best acclimatised to the high temperatures with a specially designed fitness regime.

Mikko Hirvonen said:
“This is an event that I enjoy so I hope that we can secure another strong result next week. I know that we have the pace; we just need to ensure that we avoid any mistakes and pull everything together.

“It’s a tricky event, but I’ve done well here in the past. The roads are really technical and in some ways you could compare it to Mexico or Portugal, but the grip levels are a little different.

“The biggest difference is the view of the road. It’s difficult to read the stages and see which way the road is going which inevitably makes your recce and pacenotes all the more important. Thankfully, I’m really confident in my notes and that should hopefully play to our advantage.

“The stages are also very fast and narrow – which I like – but there are a lot of obstacles that you need to watch out for. There are a lot of rocks on the side of the road, and if it’s hot, it can be hard on the tyres so you need to ensure that you look after them.”

Elfyn Evans said:
“It will be nice to go back to an event where I have already experienced the power and performance of a world rally car, but I’m not going to let that affect my focus too much. The plan is still to learn as much as we can whilst developing our speed at this level.

“This year will certainly be easier than last year. Twelve months ago I was completely thrown into the unknown. I found out that I would be doing the rally three days before the recce began. I had never driven the Fiesta RS WRC in competition, I had never tackled the Sardinian stages and I had never had to adapt to a new co-driver quite that quickly!

“Thankfully, we overcame all of that. Thanks to the hard work of the team and Giovanni [Bernacchini, co-driver], we were able to secure a really good result and I think that is one of the reasons why I have been given this fantastic opportunity. Needless to say, this will always be a very special event for me.

“Dan [Barritt, co-driver] and I have spent a lot of time since Argentina looking through all of the onboards and ensuring that my notes are as accurate as they can be. Forty per cent of the rally will be completely new, but for the familiar 60 per cent, I think that we are well prepared to continue progressing and developing our speed.

“I also headed out to Sardinia a little earlier than planned to do some fitness training and really acclimatise to the heat. It’s fair to say that Sardinia is a little warmer than Cumbria at the moment, so it’s important for me to ensure that I am fully adjusted to the climate.”

ADDITIONAL M-SPORT DRIVERS

M-Sport continue to dominate the WRC entry lists with 41 per cent of next week’s field taking to the wheel of the firm’s Ford Fiesta rally cars. Six Ford Fiesta RS WRCs have been entered alongside eight Ford Fiesta RRCs, eight Ford Fiesta R5s and one Ford Fiesta R2.

Henning Solberg will make a welcome return to the championship with an M-Sport prepared Fiesta RS WRC. The popular Norwegian secured a fifth place finish on his previous outing in Portugal – more than two years after his last competitive appearance on gravel – and will be hoping to continue that trend next week.

In the WRC 2 category, Yuriy Protasov will defend his championship lead with his trusted M-Sport prepared Fiesta RRC. Also taking to the wheel of an M-Sport prepared Fiesta RRC is Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari in an eye-catching new livery.
Two M-Sport prepared Fiesta R5s have been entered for Nicolas Fuchs and Quentin Gilbert.

KUBICA LOOKS TO PROGRESS ON THE ITALIAN ISLE

Posted: June 5, 2014 12:03 PM

RK M-Sport World Rally Team’s Robert Kubica will take to this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna with one goal in mind – further progress behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Having conquered the challenge of Rally Argentina, the Pole will be keen to continue his development on the island of Sardinia.

As one of the most technically demanding events of the year, Robert will need to apply all that he learnt in South America. Finishing in a creditable sixth place, the Pole produced a highly controlled performance, but as with any true racer, he will be keen to up his pace and continue his progress at the FIA World Rally Championship’s highest level.

Sardinia may be a prime location for the world’s rich and famous, but it is also ideal rallying territory. The gravel stages are extremely fast but also demand an air of caution. Huge rocks and tree stumps line the route ready to turn even the slightest of mistakes into a costly error.

The Formula One race winner has an affinity with all things Italian. Having made the move to Italy as a teenager, much of his early rallying was contested on the Italian asphalt and he claimed a dominant victory as part of the WRC 2 category on his Sardinian debut last year. Progress will be the name of the game for the Pole and his fellow countryman and co-driver Maciek Szczepaniak. The pairing made strides with their pacenote system in Argentina, and that is something that they will be keen to develop further as the WRC returns to Europe.

Robert Kubica said:
“During my days in karting I spent quite a lot of time in Italy, so in Sardinia – as well as in Poland – I should have more fans than usual. Like all of the gravel events in the WRC, this is a difficult rally so in that respect my approach won’t be too different from the previous outing in Argentina.

“Of course Sardinia is a rally that I got to know a bit in WRC2 last year, but my goal will stay the same. I will just try to maximise my chances of finishing the rally, which means minimising any mistakes.

“All of the stages are very technical and the surface is sandy so it is quite slippery out there. All of the stages are fast – very fast in places – but it is also extremely narrow so you have to drive very precisely and try to get as much speed through the corner while keeping the line. There really is no margin for error in Sardinia.”

ANDREUCCI AND PIRELLI FACE A WORLD CLASS CHALLENGE IN SARDINIA

Posted: June 5, 2014 11:53 AM

Paolo Andreucci, who claimed victory on the recent Targa Florio, will lead the Pirelli entry for the next round of the Italian Rally Championship this weekend: the Rally Italia Sardegna.

Andreucci, co-driven as usual by Anna Andreussi, will compete in his new Peugeot Italia 208 T16 R5 car on the demanding gravel roads of Sardinia, equipped with Pirelli tyres.

Meanwhile Pirelli’s leader of the FIA European Historic Rally Championship, Massimo Pedretti, will make his debut in modern machinery: swapping a Lancia Rally 037 for a Peugeot 207 S2000 for the first time.

The Italian Rally Championship competitors follow directly behind the Rally d’Italia World Championship event from Thursday 5 June to Saturday 7 June. This poses an extra challenge for the Italian championship crews, as they will compete on roads that have been affected by the passage of all the World Rally Championship competitors.

Sardinian stages are generally characterised by soft and sandy gravel, which clean rapidly to reveal some sharp rocks and stones. This makes repeated runs through the stages particularly treacherous and a big test for Pirelli’s renowned Scorpion tyres, which Andreucci along with the other Pirelli runners will use. Pirelli though has an excellent record in marginal conditions, which will be an especially important factor this year as the roads are expected to be very rough.

The rally covers a competitive distance of 140.42 kilometres over 11 stages for the Italia championship crews. It gets underway at 21:06 on Thursday 5 June with an all-asphalt spectator superspecial in Cagliari, and finishes at 14:30 in Alghero on Saturday 7 June.

Pirelli drivers in Sicily

The leading Pirelli runners on Rally Targa Florio include:

    Paolo Andreucci/Anna Andreussi (Peugeot 208 T16)
    Andrea Nucita/Giuseppe Princiotto (Peugeot 207 S2000)?
    Stefano Albertini/Silvia Mazzetti (Peugeot 208 R2)
    Fabio Gianfico/Liberato Mongillo (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
    Renato Travaglia/Giacomo Ciucci (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
    Pablo Biolghini/Giuseppe Morina (Skoda Fabia S2000)
    Massimo Pedretti/Emanuele Baldaccini (Peugeot 207 S2000)
The tyres available

For clean roads with a hard base, the ultra-durable Scorpion XR5 tyre will be used. This tyre has the advantage of providing a high degree of precision, which is especially necessary in Sardinia, as the drivers will need to stay in the ruts that have been formed by the World Rally Cars in front. It is also very good on the long stages, thanks to its excellent durability. Pirelli will also bring the K4 reinforced tyre for loose and sandy surfaces. Good weather is expected throughout the event, so the softer-compound K6, for cooler conditions, is less likely to be used. Although the Thursday night superspecial is all-asphalt, the cars will use gravel tyres on the three-kilometre test: most likely the K4.

Quotes

Paolo Andreucci, Pirelli driver:
“We’re feeling confident after winning the Targa Florio, but of course the Rally d’Italia will be a completely different type of challenge, on gravel. The car is still very new and there is a lot of potential yet to be unlocked, but we have a very good knowledge of the Pirelli tyre range that we are using, which has proved its strengths in the past. The nature of the stages in Sardinia means that having a tyre that is durable but quick is one of the biggest keys to success: perhaps more than any other event. This is our toughest challenge of the year, but we have a very good record with Pirelli in Sardinia so I’m feeling confident.”

Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli product manager:
“The Italian Rally Championship section of the Rally d’Italia is even harder than the World Championship event, providing a bigger test for the tyres as the competing cars have to follow in the tracks of the WRC entries, which frequently cause deep ruts and pull sharp stones out into the road. From a tyre perspective, it’s the most demanding event of the year on the Italian Rally Championship calendar. A strong tyre really makes the difference here, with puncture resistance being a key attribute. There are frequently warm ambient temperatures as well, which only adds to the work placed on the tyre. We carry out a lot of tyre testing in Sardinia, precisely because the conditions are so challenging. This year, due to the recent weather conditions, we are expecting the roads to be even rougher than usual, making puncture resistance a key factor.”

Entry List

Posted: May 16, 2014 1:51 PM

Rally Guide / Event Website / Details

Posted: March 7, 2014 12:47 PM






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