Sebastien Loeb won Rally Italia Sardegna the hard way in 2011 by running at the head of the field - and cleaning the road of the loose surface gravel - on all three days. Mikko Hirvonen finished second on the event, held in early May, following a close battle with Petter Solberg and Sebastien Ogier. Hirvonen lost ground with a puncture on day one while Solberg dropped 40s when his privateer Citroen’s turbo boost pipe worked loose on the opening day. His fight back to third secured his first podium finish of the year. Broken rear suspension hit Ogier’s hopes on the final day. Jari-Matti Latvala retired on day one but restarted and claimed several fastest stage times. The event was significant in more ways than one. Not only did MINI make its WRC debut with Dani Sordo claiming sixth overall after team-mate Kris Meeke also impressed before his car broke, Volkswagen confirmed its WRC entry from 2013 at a lavish launch on the eve of the rally.
Did you know?
Production Car world championship regular Lorenzo Bertelli, who will be competing in a Subaru Impreza, is the son of Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada. His advisor is Piero Liatti, the last driver from Italy to win a round of the WRC, a feat he achieved on Rallye Monte-Carlo in 1997.
Luca Pedersoli has the honour of being the only Italian driver to be competing in a World Rally Car on his home round of the WRC. The veteran driver had been linked to an eight-round campaign this season but Rally Italia Sardegna will be his first start in the series since 2000. With six starts to his name in the world championship, Pedersoli is better known for his exploits in the Italian asphalt series.