With four wins to his name in Sardinia - including a stunning triumph in 2011 when he ran at the head of the field on all three days of competition - Sebastien Loeb is the favourite for glory in his Citroen DS3 WRC.
However, with Jari-Matti Latvala, Mads Ostberg and Petter Solberg locked in a close fight for third place in the title standings in their Ford Fiesta RS WRCs, a ninth Loeb win in 2012 is by no means a foregone conclusion.
Latvala is a past master in Sardinia having won in 2009. He was also victorious on the last gravel-based round of the WRC in Wales back in September, where Norwegians Ostberg and Solberg also impressed.
Mikko Hirvonen, in the second factory Citroen, is chasing his first win of 2012 on the surface he likes most and will be a contender for top spot.
Thierry Neuville will deputise for Nasser Al-Attiyah in Qatar World Rally Team’s Citroen on the back of his best WRC finish to date in France earlier this month. Young guns Evgeny Novikov and Ott Tanak will be in the hunt for points in their M-Sport Fiestas, as will Martin Prokop.
Luca Pedersoli makes his long-awaited debut in a Citroen DS3 WRC having announced a partial programme of events late last year.
Chris Atkinson will head the WRC Team MINI Portugal attack in his John Cooper Works WRC with Brazilian Paulo Nobre competing in a second entry.
Volkswagen Motorsport pair Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier will be quick, despite their Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabias packing less power than the pacesetting World Rally Cars.
Visit WRC.com next week to find out who will be fighting it out for Production Car World Rally Championship honours in Italy.
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