Hard yet heartfelt.
Among all the world championship runs, the Italy Rally is undoubtedly one of the toughest and hardest on materials. On the narrow gravel roads of Sardinia, the suspension systems on the World Rally Cars are constantly subjected to stress. In addition, the stones hidden in the soft gravel or sand present a particular kind of danger. These are quite literally shovelled up by the first vehicles and can quickly damage the tyres of the following cars. On Sardinia, the drivers consequently have to choose their pace carefully in order to avoid getting a flat tyre. Another important matter on Sardinia is the starting position. Just like in Portugal or Greece, nobody wants the role of road sweeper here – but they also don’t want to drive in the dust of others – especially in the dark.
Date: 09 till 12 June 2016
There’s a group of people who are often overlooked during a rally, and that’s the co-drivers. They are, of course, unjustly overlooked, because rallying is a team sport, and without a co-driver’s very quick instructions, it would be impossible for a driver to drive a WRC vehicle at high speed. After all, you’re sure to run into trouble if you’re driving at 160 km/h without any idea of whether you need to steer left or right after the next corner.
Julien Ingrassia about Rally Italy.
What’s different about Rally Italy?
The first thing that springs to mind is the very sandy substratum. Also, the roads in Sardinia are very narrow and there are a lot of boulders right by the side of the roads. You therefore have to drive carefully. It’s not a very high-paced rally, but it’s still tough for both man and machine because of the intense heat.
What do you have to pay particular attention to in Rally Italy?
Most of all, you have to pay attention to the large number of rocks. You have to take the corners very accurately. If you drift too much, you run the risk of puncturing a tyre or doing even more serious damage. The night-time stages are tough too, of course – especially if you’re not the first to start, which means you’re driving through all the dust churned up by everyone ahead of you.
What has been your finest moment in Rally Italy?
Our first victory there in 2013. It was a win that felt twice as good after our disappointing performance in Greece, when we only came tenth.
And what about your worst moment in Rally Italy?
There hasn’t really been one. In the last three years we have been really sucessful there with three victories in a row. Let's see what this year brings.