16 May 08
Wondering what the Sardinian stages are like to drive? Well, wonder no more because this weekend Petter Solberg’s co-driver Phil Mills is going tell us all about them.
Subaru World Rally Team leaders Phil and Petter have a successful record on the Rally d’Italia Sardinia. They won the first edition in 2004 in their Impreza and finished second the following year.
Here’s what Phil reckons about the opening day’s stages this year.
SS1/SS4 Monte Corvos (16.43km)
We start with a reverse direction stage from last year which is very narrow, bumpy and - during the recce at least - had lots of mud. There are lots of trees and tree stumps lining the road so we have to keep things neat and tidy here. It’s hard though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two people slide wide here and damage their cars. The rest of the stage is very, very twisty and complex before it suddenly opens onto a flat-out section along the main road for about two kilometres to the finish.
SS2/SS5 Crastazza (33.96km)
This one is the longest stage of the rally and about half of it is the same as last year. It starts very fast and flowing with a large jump before heading into the forest where it gets very tricky and we’ve seen lots of cars go off in the past. It’s really got a bit of everything; jumps, bumps, flat out bits, tight twisty corners and obstacles like narrow gates. The road surface is quite loose and rutted and, of course, it’s very long. About eight kilometres from the end we have what I can only describe as a rollercoaster; massive speed, huge crests and dips for about two kilometres. It’s a very tricky piece of road.
SS3/SS6 Terranova (15.39km)
This is possibly the toughest stage of the rally because when we went through on the recce it was full of mud. We had massive overnight rain early in the week, but here it can dry out in half a day if you get the wind and the temperature and the mud ruts will be horrendous as they will just dry solid. Less than half the distance of Crastazza, Terranova still has a bit of everything; it’s very twisty, very narrow - especially for the first half - lots of mud and a downhill section where you can slide off even at walking speed. But you can’t afford to go off here as there is no run-off and it’ll end your rally.