Rally Italy may be a known quantity in the World Rally Championship, having first appeared on the schedule in 2004, but this year’s event is taking on a new-look.
Or should that in fact be an old look, as the service park has moved west to Oblia – where it was first based 18 years ago – from its now traditional base in Alghero.
Several of the stages remain the same, but not all. Here is DirtFish’s guide to what to expect from the first leg in Sardinia.
Filigosu – Sa Conchedda (13.85 miles)
At 13.85 miles, the very first stage of the event is actually the longest. Run twice as SS1 and SS3, Filigosu – Sa Conchedda features sections of the famous Monte Lerno (although without Micky’s Jump) but in the opposite direction. The stage features some old asphalt sections but is mostly littered with technical, albeit fast, corners.
Terranova (8.92 miles)
Last run in 2017, Terranova is a stage many drivers are already talking about before they’ve even entered it at competitive speeds. The surface is softer than on lots of other Sardinian tests, while a jump in the middle of the stage set to offer a challenge. Although the stage isn’t a new one, some sections are.
Tempio Pausania (7.5 miles)
Almost identical to how it was last year, the first stage of Friday afternoon was the opener last year where Teemu Suninen stunned everyone to win by 12.4 seconds. Very narrow, deceptive, tricky and punishing, being able to thread a car at slow speeds is key, meaning some Rally2 drivers could spring a surprise in here.
Erula – Tula (9.3 miles)
Another similar stage to 2020 but shorter in length with the organizer removing some of the slower sections from the end which were less popular with drivers. A picturesque stage which hurtles past a wind farm, Erula – Tula should therefore be quick this year with the slower sections no longer included.