05 - 08 May 11
Categories:WRC, SWRC, WRC Academy
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2011)
Italy returns to the World Rally Championship after a one-year gap with the Mediterranean island of Sardinia again playing host to all the action.
Organisers have used the time away from the global stage to tweak the route with the opening day based in the Oristano province in the west of the island for the first time.
The stages in Sardinia are characterised by their challenging and varied nature. Although they are predominantly fast and narrow, the terrain is a mixture of flat open areas and undulating tracks through woodland with water splashes and spectacular jumps thrown in for good measure.
Ordinarily the surface is hard with rock-strewn sections commonplace, while ruts will often form after the first pass. However, some parts of the route are on softer ground and can be prone to damage in the event of heavy rainfall.
As with most gravel rallies, road position can have a major bearing on the result due to the effect of cleaning the course of loose-surface gravel and the formation of hanging dust clouds: Jari-Matti Latvala’s victory for Ford in 2009 owed much to the delays that drivers running behind him suffered while fighting their way through plumes of dust.
While the Oristano region will be used for the first time, Rally d’Italia Sardegna retains its traditional base in the port town of Olbia, which hosts the ceremonial start, permanent service park and headquarters.
Following the visit to Oristano on day one, day two’s stages are located around the districts of Monti, Ala dei Sardi and Buddaso south of Olbia. Day three’s stages are located north of Olbia and include the Power Stage in Gallura.
Italy’s world championship qualifier begins with a visit to previously unchartered territory around Oristano and includes a remote service Siamanna. A ceremonial start on Olbia’s waterfront is also added to the itinerary.