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Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
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Tue 06 Jun 2023

2023: The most memorable Rally Italia Sardegna ever?

What a difference an Italian round of the FIA World Rally Championship makes.

Sitting at a café enjoying Thursday night’s opening stage in downtown Olbia, everything with the world was wonderful. The Pane Carasau had been delivered and somewhere nearby a chef was doing something special with octopus and garlic. The sun was slowly setting to the soundtrack of rally cars ripping up SS1.

What a fantastic start to the Rally Italia Sardegna week.

Come the finish, same place on Sunday was a very, very different story. The rain was incessant. So heavy, in fact, the octopus might have been tempted to leap from the plate and make a bid for freedom.

The sun-storm mix was a running theme through the event and while downtown Olbia escaped the worst of the weather until Sunday, the stages played host to the full gamut of meteorological madness.

Raw Rally Action: WRC Rally Italia Sardegna 2023

The upshot of that was one of the most entertaining rounds of the championship in years – certainly an event worthy of the 20-year anniversary celebrations.

Such was the demand for space in the service park, the event spilled out of the harbour and right along the seafront to the podium location. The festival atmosphere throughout the week was one of the highlights of the season so far. The opportunity to taste some of Sardinia’s finest food – including snails in a tasty tomato sauce – before heading along to the Sparco stand to re-live some glorious Martini moments was outstanding.

The original WRC winners on Sardinia – Petter Solberg and Phil Mills – were reunited with their Subaru Impreza WRC from the day. The Norwegian-British pair wound back the years as they told story after story about their domination of the original Italian island world championship round.

On every level, this one was unforgettable.