Tue 28 May 2024

Junior WRC stars tackle ultimate Italian Job in Sardinia

The FIA Junior WRC will tackle gravel for the first time this season when Rally Italia Sardegna, round three of five, kicks off later this week.

Based in the seaside city of Alghero, on the north-western coast of the Mediterranean island, Rally Italia Sardegna runs from 30 May - 2 June. It is the first of three consecutive loose-surface events on the FIA Junior WRC calendar.

Scorching temperatures, rough and tough roads lined with trees and rocks, and a soft sandy surface that becomes extremely slippery when wet are all hallmarks of this rally. And with 17 crews competing in identical M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evos, equipped with Pirelli tyres and Wolf lubricants, fast-paced action is guaranteed.

Victory last time out at Croatia Rally propelled Romet Jürgenson to a 30-point championship lead over Australia's Taylor Gill, the next highest-placed Junior WRC regular. Estonian star Jürgenson is aiming to widen that buffer in Sardinia, a country he practiced in last year during the FIA Rally Star Training Camp.

“I know Sardinia is going to be a really difficult event - maybe one of the most difficult of the season,” he said. “With so many Rally2 cars ahead of us, we have to take a different approach, especially on the second pass of stages when the roads will be quite damaged.

“I like these kinds of roads where you have to be accurate - you can’t really go wide anywhere because there are some hidden rocks on the side of the road. We’re in a good position in the championship, so let’s try to continue this.”

Eamonn Kelly, Diego Domínguez and Raul Hernández will each hope to leverage the experience they gained from competing in last year’s Italian fixture. Domínguez, who finished second in 2023, currently languishes ninth in the standings due to accidents in the opening two rounds.

Other stars to watch include Norbert Maior, currently fourth in the points, as well as Bruno Bulacia and Ali Türkkan. Abdullah Al-Rawahi and Gerardo Rosselot, both of whom missed round two, also return to action.

The rally starts from Alghero on Friday afternoon and includes 16 stages totalling 266.12 km before the finish on Sunday afternoon.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM