Do you believe you can fly? Do you believe you can touch the sky? Just before eight o’clock on Saturday morning, the world’s finest rally drivers will go ballistic. And touch the sky.
The second day of Rally Italy takes the crews to the furthest point inland on the event, but one stage and one section of one stage dominates day two. Welcome to Micky’s Jump.
SS7/9 Monte Lerno (13.72 miles)
And there’s not long to get your head in the game before you approach one of the most famous runways in world rallying. The approach to Micky’s Jump, which comes just 500 meters into the stages is steep – but it’s the way the road drops away on the far side of the crest that really sends the car’s skywards.
Don’t be fooled, this is no Yellow House in Ouninpohja or Colin’s Crest in Vargåsen. Top Aussie Chris Atkinson gave his Subaru a few too many beans on the upside and nearly landed the Impreza across the Meditteranean in Corsica back in 2006. This one demands huge respect and a big dab on the anchors before take-off.
The rest of the stage is made up of the Monti di Ala stage, not used this season. It’s technical, but generally wider and faster than most tests.
SS8/10 Coiluna – Loelle (9.36 miles)
The Sardinian’s do love to name their leaps… airtime part two is Rino’s Jump a couple of miles into the stage. And the approach to this one is much faster and much more Finnish in nature. It’s hugely spectacular and an astonishing demonstration of how the dynamics of these Rally1 cars actually work.
That’s a couple of miles in. Before that, the stage has gone past a lovely looking lake and through a tree-lined valley.
After the jump, the stage changes in format moving onto a smaller road with no ends of crests and dips – perfect pacenotes are an absolute must here. The nearby motocross track at Buddusò, complete with the popular Nuraghe Loelle is a good way to finish the stage.
Generally, the roads used in here are softer in nature and will dig out and present some football-sized rocks on the second run through.
SS11 Sedini – Castelsardo (9.18 miles)
It’s back closer to the coast for the first stage after service on Friday and Saturday. And it’s a stage with distinct sections and rhythm changes. Off the start the cars are out onto moorland and through a windfarm section. There’s a section of just short of a mile on asphalt before the midpoint. Through a tunnel (which takes the cars across the main road) the road climbs sharply towards a hairpin on a broken road which will challenge anything but the hardest compound in potentially the hottest part of the day. From there on, the grip level seems to constantly change making any kind of flow hard to find.
SS12 Tergu – Osilo (7.96 miles)
It’s not for no reason that Pirelli has selected this stretch of road to run its 2021 tire development… the surface in here is horribly abrasive. Starting a mile further into the stage than last year it’s wide and fast on hard-packed bedrock to begin with. But don’t be fooled, the road is covered with loose gravel. Out in the open, much of this has dried from the pre-recce rain and this one should clean.
After a couple of miles of climbing, the stage crosses the road and heads downhill towards the finish over a bunch of bridges. One of the week’s biggest challenges, this is a hugely rewarding stage which, when you get it right, offers the chance to pull good time with the right rhythm. But it’s easy to get it wrong.