Literally, it’s just down the road. Or roads. East underneath Milan, over the top of Venice, dash through Slovenia, over the border and you’re there. Alba to Zagreb. Italy to the fourth round of the World Rally Championship.
Suddenly, it all makes sense.
#RA Rally Regione Piemonte (née Rally di Alba) has moved dates and changed name. The eight-stage, 63-mile (101km) event runs April 14/15 – the week before Rally Croatia. And with support from the Regione Piemonte region, it’s set to be an even bigger occasion than before.
A national round it might be, but the rally has attracted plenty of WRC drivers in the past, showcasing just how strong an event Rally Regione Piemonte can be.
“We have a good history for WRC teams coming to compete here in Alba,” said #RA Rally Regione Piemonte spokesperson Paolo Borgna,
“Sébastien Loeb won the WRC Plus element of this event in 2019, then Thierry [Neuville] in 2020 and Oliver Solberg in 2021. Ott Tänak’s been here twice. These guys know how good our roads are and our rally is.”
And they really do. The asphalt stages provide drivers with a real challenge, but they also induce huge amounts of enjoyment, and that was a big part of the attraction for Solberg when he won the event two years ago.
“I have nice memories from Alba – this was my first win in a World Rally Car. OK, we know it wasn’t so much the proper one, but it was still a nice feeling to take the victory,” he said.
“I really enjoyed doing that event in Alba, it was a very cool way to drive on Tarmac and get everything prepared.
“When I went I hadn’t really driven [the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC] so much on asphalt, so this gave me great experience.
“The roads and the stages we used were amazing, a good challenge and so much fun to drive.”
Qualifying as a round of CIAR (Italian Rally Championship, Regional Rally Cup and WRC Plus Cup) as well as Tour European Rally Series, the organizer of the Alba-based event is expecting a strong entry.
As well as providing great roads, the compact route and Saturday evening finish makes it a cost-effective competition as well as a test option.
The recce for the five separate stages (including the 1.79-mile/2.88km shakedown test) runs on Thursday April 13 before Friday’s shakedown and the event-opening powerstage, which will be screened live on Italian TV on Friday April 14.
The mainstay of the action comes across Saturday with two stages run twice and one stage repeated three times.
The competition winds its way through the undulating vineyards surrounding the picturesque town of Alba and includes a wide variety of roads in terms of gradient and grip level.
Entries open on Monday March 13.
“We have a new name, but the same roads and the same amazing competition,” said Borgna. “We are really looking forward to seeing the best crews in Italy coming in our direction.”
Further information on the event and the exceptional Piemonte region is available here.