Tue 31 May 2022

Rally rewind Rally Italia Sardegna 2021

If the pace in Alghero this week is anything like the weather forecast, we’re in for a real treat. As we get set for Rally Italia Sardegna (2 - 3 June), let’s cast our minds back to 2021 and recall our top five moments from a dramatic encounter.

1: Ogier’s win against the odds

The reigning champion headed a Toyota Yaris 1-2 finish to claim a comfortable 46sec victory over Elfyn Evans. However, in the build-up to the rally, Ogier’s chances looked slim. 

As championship leader, he started first in the order on Friday’s opening leg, ploughing a line through loose gravel which became progressively cleaner and offered more grip with the passage of each car.

The Frenchman ended the opening day just over half a minute adrift of a dominant Ott Tänak and Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Dani Sordo, but his persistence eventually paid off when the leading duo hit trouble (see below). 

2: Hyundai’s agony

The Korean manufacturer team was on course to finish with two of its cars inside the top three, but all hopes of a dream result soon evaporated.

Tänak was the first to go, hitting a rock and ripping the rear wheel from his i20. Sordo followed just a handful of stages later when he rolled. 

3: Huttunen impresses

Flying Finn Jari Huttunen clinched an impressive WRC2 win as well as bringing his Hyundai i20 R5 home an amazing fifth overall despite nursing an engine issue over the final two stages. 

It was a tight fight all weekend between Huttunen and Citroën C3 Rally2 driver Mads Østberg, but a 1min time penalty for a late check-in followed by a puncture and burst brake pipe eventually dashed Østberg’s hopes. 


4: Suninen blows it

Teemu Suninen’s M-Sport Ford career was under scrutiny. After being dropped to the team’s WRC2 squad for the previous two rallies, the Finn needed a strong result. 

Unfortunately, Suninen’s top-level return proved short-lived when he tipped his Fiesta onto its side on the first stage of the rally. The crew got the car back onto four wheels, but it remained stuck and he retired from the leg.

5: Taka’s bumblebee

Toyota Gazoo Racing pilot Takamoto Katsuta matched his career-best finish from the previous round in Portugal by taking fourth overall. 

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Japanese star. On the final day, a bumblebee flew into his Yaris and spent an entire stage buzzing around the cockpit. Nerves of steel or what?  

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