Three days of hot and dusty action are lined up on the picture postcard Mediterranean island of Sardinia, located off the west coast of the Italian mainland.
The rugged gravel roads are narrow, fast and lined with rocks, allowing no room for error. A sandy surface gives way to bedrock and ruts when they are repeated, testing cars and tyres to the limit.
The rally is again based in Alghero in the north of the island and while most roads are familiar to WRC regulars, the daily format shows a significant change.
Video: Rally Italia Sardegna route
Instead of identical loops either side of a mid-leg service, Friday and Saturday mornings feature a pair of repeated stages before service in Alghero. The afternoons consist of two additional tests, driven once only each day.
Alarm clocks will be set bright and early for Friday’s 05.45 start. Drivers face a long journey across the island for the opening tests in Tempio Pausania (12.08km), a new stage to the rally, and the tricky Erula - Tula (21.78km). Both are repeated before returning to Alghero.
Afternoon tests among the Sedini - Castelsardo wind farms (14.72km) and Tergu - Osilo (12.81km) close the leg after 95.25km of action.
Saturday brings an even earlier 05.15 start ahead of stages in the Monte Acuto region, south-east of the previous day’s tests.
Classic morning stages in Monte Lerno (22.08km) and Coiluna - Loelle (15.00km) will offset the early-morning blues. The former is the longest stage of the rally and features the awesome Micky’s Jump, where cars fly high as the road drops away beneath them.
Sedini - Castelsardo and Tergu - Osilo again bring the day to a close after 101.69km of competition.
Sunday’s final leg is in the north-west of the island, north of Alghero, and unchanged from 2019. Cala Flumini (14.06km) and the stunning coastal Sassari - Argentiera (6.89km) are driven twice, with the latter forming the final bonus-points paying Wolf Power Stage.
The 16 stages cover 238.84km in a route totalling 1199.15km. No spectators will be allowed on the stages or in the service park in line with Italy’s stringent Covid-19 protocols.
• Full coverage from Rally Italia Sardegna will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.