Wednesday | 10 Jun 2015

Trio chase WRC 2 points lead

Another heavyweight battle lies in wait in WRC 2 at Rally Italia Sardegna (11 - 14 June) with 23 crews taking on the island’s rough gravel roads.

Series leader Jari Ketomaa is absent and his position will come under threat from three drivers who could replace the Finn on top of the standings.

Likely favourite is Nasser Al-Attiyah who is unbeaten this season and five points behind after wins in Mexico and Portugal. The Qatari is a rough road expert who has won the Dakar Rally twice, and his Ford Fiesta RRC is suited to the tough conditions.

Another five points adrift is fellow countryman Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, also in a Fiesta RRC, who won in Argentina. Fourth-placed Stéphane Lefebvre can also claim top spot, the Frenchman switching from his usual DS 3 R5 to a RRC version.

Skoda will aim to capitalise on a double podium at the Fabia R5’s debut in Portugal last month. Esapekka Lappi, who finished second, will be joined by Jan Kopecký, a man in form after two wins from two starts in the Czech championship.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari - winner in Argentina

“So far everything has gone entirely to plan with the new car in the Czech Rally Championship. We travel to Italy full of confidence, but aware the rally will be a far greater challenge,” said Kopecký, returning to the WRC after eight years away.

Yazeed Al Rajhi (Fiesta RRC) should feature strongly after being Al-Attiyah’s closest challenger in the opening leg in Portugal, while Frenchman Julien Maurin (Fiesta RRC) will hope to build on fourth place there.

Karl Kruuda (DS 3 R5) was never out of the top three times in Portugal before his retirement, while Yurii Protasov (Fiesta RRC) and Eric Camilli (Fiesta R5) could be among the frontrunners. Keep an eye out also for multiple Italian champion Paolo Andreucci (Peugeot 208 T16) in a guest appearance.

Points leader Simone Tempestini and second-placed Gianluca Linari head the Production Cup entrants within WRC 2. But Max Rendina is a non-starter after doctors enforced a rest period following his collapse in Portugal.

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