Thu 30 May 2024

Co-Driver's Corner with Martijn Wydaeghe: Italy

It’s rally time again! Tomorrow we start Rally Italia Sardegna, one of the most challenging yet beautiful rounds on the WRC calendar. I can’t wait to get going!

Portugal was a very good event for us. Even though it was difficult having to open the road on the first day, we made the best of it and were only 18 seconds behind going into Saturday.

We lost touch with the top three guys a little bit but due to some crashes in front of us, but we were able to catch third place by the end of Saturday. Sunday, as we all know now, is very important, and we managed to achieve a good result - plus getting the full five bonus points from the Wolf Power Stage.

All in all, it was a really strong event for the team and especially for us, extending our lead in the championship to 24 points. Aside from the result, it was also great to see so many spectators on the road sections, on the stages, and in the service park. Fans were everywhere and that made it enjoyable for us both inside and outside the car.

Sardinia means another rally on gravel and another rally where we’ll be opening the road on Friday. The road surface here has a sandy top layer which makes this task even more challenging, so let’s hope for some rain.

If it’s bone dry and we have to do a lot of cleaning, it will not be easy to secure a good road position for the rest of the weekend. But as we all know, this rally is very demanding for the cars, so we need to try to get through Friday and Saturday and do the same as we did in Portugal on Sunday—taking as many points as possible for the championship.

We really love this event. It’s very technical and we have seen in the past that Thierry has been very strong here on these kinds of stages. I’m quite confident that, together with the team, we can do a good job.

It’s the first time we have this shorter format, but it doesn’t change my preparation. Essentially, the recce starts one day later and the shakedown starts one day later, then we go straight into the rally on Friday afternoon. If anything, I think it will be a more intense rally for us, and Saturday, in particular, will be a long day. Temperatures can soar, especially inside the car, so we need to keep our energy levels stable throughout the week to avoid any peaks or drops.

We have a nutrition plan which consists of low-carb meals and avoids too much fat and sugar, just to make sure that we have consistent energy levels throughout the event. Below is an example of what Thierry and I will eat on a typical rally day:

• Low-fat yoghurt
• Muesli
• Kiwifruit
Morning snacks:
• Isotonic drink
• Mixed nuts
• Smoothie

• Wrap

Afternoon snacks:
• Isotonic drink
• Energy bar
• Sandwich
• Mixed nuts

• Pasta pesto
• Chicken fillet
• Mixed grilled vegetables

It’s also super important that we stay well-hydrated throughout the rally, especially in hot conditions. Before the travel day to Sardinia, I already started to drink more water, more isotonic drinks, and also drinks with some extra salt in them.

During the rally days, we are drinking around seven to eight litres of water, isotonic drinks, and this extra salt drink to make sure that we have enough liquid in the body. We need this for mental concentration, which is just as important as our physical fitness.

That’s all for now – round six awaits us!

See you on the stages!

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM