In Sardinia, the team of Red Bull Skoda will for the first time in this year's WRC compete for championship points on gravel Harri Rovanpera will start his 108th WRC event overall in Olbia with good prospects, alongside co-driver Risto...
In Sardinia, the team of Red Bull Skoda will for the first time in this year's WRC compete for championship points on gravel
Harri Rovanpera will start his 108th WRC event overall in Olbia with good prospects, alongside co-driver Risto Pietilainen (both SF)
For Andreas Aigner (AUT)/Timo Gottschalk (GER), Sardinia constitutes their first ever gravel event in the Fabia WRC
Prior to the seventh WRC event of the season the team will run extensive tests this coming weekend
After quite a long absence - the Argentinian round was not entered - the season of Red Bull Skoda, run by BRR, continues next week with its fifth WRC event in Sardinia. For both drivers it will be the first gravel rally of the year. Accordingly, the team's preparations are intense. Starting this Saturday, vigorous on-site test runs are scheduled up to and including Monday to work out the best suspension settings.
Harri Rovanpera is rated as one of the best gravel specialists in the entire field and has already won Rally Sardinia back in 2003 when it was still an European Championship event: "I love this rally, it's extremely difficult and very demanding. If we're able to test successfully, we should be able to achieve a good result in the end. In my 108th WRC start, my routine and experience will surely be of help here."
For Andreas Aigner, his first ever gravel rally at the wheel of a WRC implies another huge challenge: "I had quite a good feeling in the last tarmac rallies, now I need to adjust and learn to drive properly on gravel. The test days will help me with that for sure. Apart from that I'm totally motivated, and I hope to at least keep the immediate competition at bay. In addition Harri will be able to give me some good advice."
Armin Schwarz and Raimund Baumschlager, the team bosses, have issued clear directives: "We will certainly let Harri go for it, so he should be able to achieve a top six position. We'll have to wait and see how Andreas does on gravel, what he trusts himself to do. If he manages to complete this task in a positive fashion, we have taken a further step."
344.94 kilometres over 18 special stages
The 48th Rally Italia-Sardinia gets under way on Thursday, May 18th, at 8 p.m. with a ceremonial start at Marina Vecchio, Porto Cervo. From Friday through Sunday (May 19th to 21st), 18 special stages over a competitive distance of 344.94 kilometres are scheduled. The overall length of the rally amounts to 1,140.18 kilometres, with the finish on Sunday expected at 2.15 p.m in Porto Cervo.