Sardinia is famend for producing tough gravel phases however a revised route for this weekend’s twentieth anniversary occasion is ready to ship maybe the hardest situations of the season.
4-time Sardinia winner Sebastien Ogier, returning to the championship this weekend after sitting out Portugal, is anticipating a gruelling rally after likening the phases to these seen in Kenya, which has earned a fame as one of many hardest occasions in world motorsport.
“I assumed Safari Rally Kenya was in three weeks time however we now have a style of it already as a result of some sections are very tough,” Ogier informed Autosport.
“Actually some sections do really feel like Kenya, there are many stones and principally there are some sections which might be more durable than plenty of sections we undergo in Kenya.”
The tough phases would require loads of concentrate on automotive administration to succeed in the end in accordance tor reigning world champion and Ogier’s Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanpera.
“A few of the new elements they’ve used to attach the phases just like the lengthy one and the brand new stage on Friday morning are actually tough now, so I can not think about what it is going to be like on the second cross. Will probably be powerful to maintain the automotive and the tyres in a single piece,” Rovanpera informed Autosport.
“We will likely be managing the automotive on some elements.”
Toyota struggled for outright tempo on tough gravel rallies final 12 months and notably in Sardinia, with Rovanpera’s fifth its finest consequence on the occasion 12 months in the past.
Elfyn Evans is nonetheless assured the Japanese marque has made enhancements to the GR Yaris that can carry the group nearer to the pack this 12 months, however the Welshman is cautious that merely ending the occasion is a consequence.
“I don’t suppose the automotive is a matter now let’s say I feel the efficiency has been proved to be there in most of those sort of rallies extra just lately,” mentioned Evans.
“However in fact the occasion is huge problem I feel it’s most likely the roughest or tougher Sardinia that we now have seen in fairly a couple of years when it comes to a few of the roughness in locations
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Workforce Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Picture by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport
“It’s a fairly excessive rally so ending is one thing right here and with a skinny discipline like we now have, there’s all the time first rate factors if we will get to the tip.”
Friday’s schedule is tipped to be notably gruelling, opening with the brand new Tantariles check, which is adopted by an prolonged 49.9km cross by way of Monte Lerno.
Along with the tough roads, crews are anticipated to face changeable climate which can add to the problem.
When requested in regards to the challenges of the Monte Lerno check, Evans added: “It’s a good distance and I actually suppose it’s essential have rhythm. When you have an issue there then positively the weekend is over. It will be a problem.
“I feel we now have been fortunate with the climate as a result of this time final 12 months we have been all panicking about cockpit temperatures and now we now have a 50 kilometre stage. Fortunately it isn’t so scorching.”
Rally Sardinia begins with an excellent particular stage in host metropolis Olbia this night. Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi topped the instances in at present’s shakedown with a 0.6s margin over team-mate Thierry Neuville, with Ogier third quickest forward of M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet.