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Tue 30 May 2023

Italy Countdown: Route + Maps

Rally Italia Sardegna (1 - 4 June) is one of the toughest events on the WRC calendar. And this year’s rally will be no exception as high in-car temperatures and narrow, rugged gravel roads push crews to their limit.

One of the events which formed part of the inaugural WRC calendar in 1973, the rally moved to the island in 2004. In 2023, the seaside town of Olbia hosts the four-day fixture, which takes in 19 special stages totalling 320.88km.

Crews tackle the Loiri Porto San Paolo shakedown (2.87km) on Thursday morning, but the real action begins later that evening. Olbia - Cabbu Abbas (3.20km), a mixed-surface super special test in the suburbs of Olbia, opens proceedings at 1805hrs (local).

Friday is a daunting day with three stages - each run twice either side of a service - lying in wait. Tantariles (10.71km) is up first, followed by a short blast through Terranova (8.41km).

The ultimate sting in the tail, however, will be the return of Monte Lerno - Sa Conchedda in its 49.90km format. The monster stage rounds out both loops and incorporates the fan-favourite Micky’s Jump, where cars fly high into the air.

“I have been meaning to do something like this for a few years,” explained Tiziano Siviero, the man who devised the challenging route. “Let's say that having a long and challenging stage is somewhat my trademark.

“The long stage was born out of the desire to include all the most beautiful sections of Monte Lerno and Monti di Alà, ending the stage in the arena of Alà dei Sardi, where the last 2 km are entirely visible for the joy of the spectators.”

Saturday’s leg follows a similar format. Double runs of Coiluna - Loelle (16.28km), Su Filigosu (19.57 km), Erula - Tula (21.92km) and Tempio Pausania (9.04 km) add up to 133.62km.

“We worked meticulously on the Tula stage,” Siviero continued, “trying to make it a difficult and selective stage, with continuous pace changes and a mix of beautiful and tricky surfaces, all enriched with five or six jumps. It is a stage where grip constantly changes, and where you can make a difference.

“Then in Tempio, we will do the 2005 version, with a completely different final part from recent editions, going from San Bachisio to Agnata, a winding and tricky road that is a slalom where a mistake can cost you a wheel.”

Route Preview: Rally Italia Sardegna 2023

Four speed tests make up Sunday’s finale. Arzachena - Braniatogghiu (15.22km) and Sardegna (7.79 km) each run twice, with the second pass of the latter forming the bonus points-paying Wolf Power Stage.

The 19 stages total 320.88km in a combined route of 1168.22km.