Rally Italy to be WRC-only event on revised route

Longer liaison trips and less daylight hours means the national championship will miss out


Rally Italy organizers are working to put together a revised route for October – but the event will be for World Rally Championship crews only, with no room for the Italian Rally Championship runners.

Confirmed in a new date as the penultimate round of this year’s WRC on Thursday, Rally Italy will now run from October 29 to November 1.

Initial considerations of a shortened route with shakedown on Friday morning have been dropped in favor of a more regular three-day itinerary, which will only be 30 miles short of the competitive distance planned for the Italian island event’s original date last month.

The event will be based wholly out of Alghero with no cross-island inclusion of Olbia planned at all. One of the primary problems for running later in the year is daylight. Italian traffic law dictates road sections have to be timed at 30mph, which means liaison between the stages takes longer.

A source close to the event told DirtFish: “The rally will be very, very similar to what we had planned. We take 100 kilometers on Friday and Saturday and 60 [kilometers] on Sunday. Maybe we have to start a little earlier, the light is coming around seven in the morning, but by half-five, already it’s the nighttime.”

It’s for that reason that the crews from the Italian series can’t be included this year.

Elfyn Evans

Photo: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

“We need to look for a field of around 50 cars or something like this, no more,” said the source. “If we take more then it gets complicated for the daylight time.”

Running into the night could complicate matters, with the potential for a dry event leaving crews struggling with the dust and darkness – that sort of thing has gone very firmly out of fashion with the FIA.

The source continued: “The event will be a nice one again. We don’t get the hot conditions from June, but you know in Sardinia in late October it can still be a little bit the summer. Maybe we get some early autumn rain, but it won’t be cold.”

Italy’s round of the WRC has run this late on the island of Sardinia twice before, in its maiden appearance on the calendar in 2004 (when it remained in Sanremo’s traditional autumn date) and then in 2012 when it concluded on October 21. The 2020 edition of the rally will be the latest in the year the WRC has visited classics such as Monte Lerno and the beachside powerstage Sassari-Argentiera.

Jari-Matti Latvala

Photo: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Confirmation of Sardinia’s inclusion in an eight-round world championship was good news for Automobile Club d’Italia president Angelo Sticchi Damiani, who said: “We are obviously happy that a new date has been assigned to Rally Italia Sardegna by FIA and WRC Promoter.

“We never doubted on the confirmation of the rally in the FIA World Rally Championship, since our event is considered as one of the best in the calendar, but the work to find a new date has been long and difficult. It is not over yet either as the final agreements have to be defined.

“We can only add that Regione Sardegna has been close to us and discussions with the promoter are continuing to make sure everyone contributes to yet another high-quality rally.”