Rally Italy Sardinia announces it will now be closed to fans

Italy's WRC round claims it can only operate if the spectators stay away

Elfyn Evans

The flight will be the same, the atmosphere quite different. Micky’s Jump will be silenced this season following the decision not to allow any spectators to attend next month’s Rally Italy Sardinia.

A recent change of government restrictions on spectator events has forced Automobile Club d’Italia into a change of policy for the island event.

ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani said the closed-door policy was the only way the rally could work on October 8-11.

“It is quite important in this terrible season that the world of sport provides an example of correctness and responsibility,” Sticchi Damiani said.

“Our objective, shared also by Regione Sardegna, has always been to hold the rally to deliver the message that despite this pandemic and its toll, the world has to go forward looking ahead in the due respect of rules. For this reason we ask for the collaboration of the real rally fans to make this event take place in the best possible way.”

The decision not to allow fans was taken jointly by the local organizers in co-operation with World Rally Championship stakeholders. The ban extends to the stages, control areas and, of course, the seafront service park in Alghero, which will need to be fenced to keep people out.

“We are following all the approved protocols,” said the rally’s general director Antonio Turitto. “And this is going to be an off-limits edition. We will shortly contact the fans holding a Gold Pass to organize the complete refund of their purchased tickets. We need the collaboration of everyone for the event to take place.”

The events running under COVID-19 protocols are employing spectator policies determined by national and regional government. Rally Estonia was permitted to sell 16,500 tickets divided among spectator areas. This week’s Rally of Turkey is not a ticketed spectator event and fans are always thin on the ground on the stages which run through the mountains above Marmaris. The service park will be closed to fans this week.