In Sardinia the WRC-3 category is an exclusively Citroen affair, with all ten entrants driving the French manufacturer's DS3 R3T as part of Citroen’s Top Driver series.
Chardonnet [pictured] heads the WRC-3 standings after winning the opening round in Monte Carlo and coming second on the most recent round in Portugal. The Frenchman is aiming for another good points haul in Sardinia, and recently received a confidence boost on another Italian event.
“We took part in Rally Adriatico a few weeks ago, and we ended up winning the two-wheel drive category in the DS3 R3,” he explained “The race also gave us a chance to work on some of the areas where we came up a little short in the Algarve.
“Although we’ve never competed in the Rally Italia Sardegna before, we are just going to give our very best to try and win.”
The only man able to topple Chardonnet from the top spot this weekend is his fellow Frenchman Bryan Bouffier, who starts as favourite after his win in the Algarve.
“I have competed in Rally Italia Sardegna only once before, in 2007, and it was in a Citroën C2 R2 Max,” said Bouffier. “Obviously, my aim is to finish on the podium because I need to record a good result if I’m to have a chance of competing in Finland. But I saw just how high the standard was in Portugal, so I know it won’t be easy.”
Winner of the 2012 France Citroën Racing Trophy Quentin Gilbert is also tipped do well. The Frenchman lies third in the WRC-3 standings after an impressive third in Portugal.
“We really can’t wait to start racing,” said Gilbert. “Although I haven’t competed here before, I know that I’m going to enjoy it because driving on the same roads as the World Rally Championship is fabulous and very rewarding. Our goal is the same as ever: make it to the end and, if possible, finish on the top step of the podium whilst avoiding the mistakes made in Portugal. We’ll have to be fast, consistent and keep out of trouble.”
Two other stars of Rally de Portugal, British driver Alastair Fisher and Ireland’s Keith Cronin will also be in action. Between them they claimed half of the stage wins in Portugal, but technical problems hampered Fisher’s progress while Cronin went off.