Thursday | 09 Jun 2016

One to watch: Monte Lerno

Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville have singled out the Monte Lerno stage as the crucial challenge of this week's Rally Italia Sardegna.

The 44km monster will run twice during Saturday's leg and is seen as both a threat and an opportunity.

As the longest stage it offers the best chance for drivers to make up time on their rivals before Sunday's short final leg. But at the same time its notorious rough and rocky surface, and huge Micky's jump [above], present numerous opportunities for things to go pear-shaped. 

"It's a tough one with little sections that are very narrow and and rough," explained Neuville, who put his Hyundai i20 off in Monte Lerno last year.

"It's easy to get a problem there and you can't avoid the stones in the middle of the road because it's too narrow. I think Monte Lerno will be a tough stage for everybody and the results can change a lot there," he added. 

Last year Ott Tänak also went off in Monte Lerno while Mads Østberg, Latvala and Robert Kubica collected punctures. Even nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb has struggled here, crashing his Citroën out of the lead in 2012.

Volkswagen's Latvala said: "Monte Lerno is the longest stage and has some sections that are really challenging. Okay, looking only at driving then the Power Stage is pretty challenging too - it's completely new, with lots of narrow sections and grip-level changes - but for me Monte Lerno is the most important stage of the rally."

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