18 May 08
This weekend Petter Solberg’s co-driver Phil Mills is giving wrc.com his thoughts on the stages of Rally d’Italia Sardegna.
Subaru World Rally Team leaders Phil and Petter have a successful record on the event. They won the first edition in 2004 in their Impreza and finished second the following year. Here’s what Phil reckons about the final day’s stages.
SS13/SS15 Monte Olbia (19.28km)
This one starts on open and difficult moorland, and the whole stage is very rough and bumpy. We have a narrow forest section before the route runs alongside a deer fence for about eight kilometres. There are lots of hairpins, and lots of rocks on the inside of the corners which mean we can’t cut any of them. We finish by passing through the middle of a timber yard before rejoining the main road. We saw a lot of cows on the road here in the recce. It’s a good stage but hard on the car.
SS14/SS16 Sorillis (18.66km)
Most of this stage is new, and on the recce it was very, very muddy. The first three kilometres especially were very tricky, although the surface may dry out quite quickly so if it stays dry it could be very different by Sunday. There’s another river crossing, but it’s changed a lot this year. In 2007 we used the crossing and it was a trickle, this year we came to it and it was about two feet deep and made a bow wave over the bonnet! It’s a long crossing too - about 30 metres wide - so it’s all about judging the speed to not stall the car. It’ll be a crucial factor as someone is bound to get stuck.
SS17 Liscia Ruja (2.69km)
The final test of the rally is a spectator stage which I think has been done for the scenery as it’s beautiful along the beach. Unfortunately, as the whole stage is barely wider than the car, we won’t be able to slide too much. And as there’s not a single junction, it might not turn out to be such a great place to watch the cars. Actually, one of the main features of this stage is the tall elephant grass that springs up everywhere. It’s ten feet tall or so in the scrubland before we reach the beach, so spectator viewing could be limited!