Difficult conditions due to the scorching heat, which is also expected in the coming days. Katsuta second in the Olbia show, ahead of Evans and a large crowd.

Alghero, June 2, 2022 – Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe were the fastest on the first day of the Rally Italia Sardegna 2022. The Hyundai crew was fastest in the morning shakedown and dominated the Olbia-Cabu Abbas Super Special Stage in the afternoon. The Belgian in the i20 N Rally1 finished the 3.23-kilometer SSS1 in 02’26.8, distancing the crew consisting of Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta and Aaron Johnston in Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 by 5 tenths. Brits Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin follow in the standings 2 tenths behind their teammates. Kalle Rovanpera, Finland’s championship leader in a Toyota GR Yaris, is fourth.

Ford Pumas round out the Rally1 positions from eighth to 11th, with Adrien Fourmaux setting the fastest time in the M-Sport team 2.2 behind Neuville. Marco Bulacia in a Skoda Fabia Evo is first in WRC2, followed by Miko Marczyk and Georg Linnamae. “It will be interesting to see the tire choices for tomorrow. The conditions will be quite difficult but I hope I can have a good race,” Neuville explained after the test.

Super Special Stage 1, the opening round of the Italian round of the World Rally Championship, engaged the 59 starting cars on a mixed dirt-asphalt course. The track, drawn between Via Mincio and State Road 125, had been designed for the 2020 edition but the absence of spectators, due to the pandemic, forced a rethink.

Therefore, SSS1 was revived this year, with large areas for spectators and RIS Experience pass holders. The large audience was thus able to closely follow the competing cars, which, after starting at 6:08 p.m. from the De Balaguer promenade, faced sharp turns and three jumps before reaching the end of the test.

The most difficult challenge, by all the drivers’ own admission, however, was the heat with an outside temperature of 32 degrees. In the Olmedo shakedown, which began at 9:01 a.m., the manufacturers also had to pay special attention to the tires because of the stones that were present along the 3.53-kilometer course and the poor grip on the ground, the same conditions that will be repeated already from tomorrow even more pronounced.

SSS1 Olbia-Cabu Abbas was streamed by WRC+ All Live and RaiPlay and televised by Sky Sport Action. It will also air at 9:45 p.m. on Rai Sport HD. Tomorrow, Friday, June 3, at 10:50 a.m. it will be offered again by the Rai channel. Television appointments will return on Saturday with live coverage of SS14 and SS16. Daily links and in-depth coverage on WRC+ All Live.

Tomorrow, Friday, June 3, kicks off at 7:01 a.m. with SS2 Terranova (14.19 km) where the key will be to keep the pace given the fast, narrow and technical sections with a bumpy, but softer surface than other trials. Two short asphalt passages also find space in the middle of Terranova.

An hour later is the start of SS3 Monti di Alà e Buddusò (24.70 km), the longest Special Stage of Rally Italia Sardegna. After the first two kilometers that skirt the arena of Sa Paule, the roads already used in past editions but in the opposite direction, become narrower and narrower until the end of the stage near Mount Lerno, a short distance from the shores of the lake of the same name. The two trials will be repeated at 9:46 a.m. for SS4 and 10:46 a.m. for SS5.

Double laps also in the afternoon. First, the Osilo-Tergu (14.63 km), starting at 3:18 p.m., where it runs on a wider and faster but often stone-filled road, with a hint of a climb before the all-downhill finish. The next Sedini-Castelsardo (13.26 km) is another great classic where you have to keep the pace high. A climb full of stones will test, once again, the tires before a finale with series jumps. The start of SS7 is at 4:01 p.m., concluding the day with SS8 at 5:48 p.m. and SS9 at 6:31 p.m.

Among the events to remember tomorrow is the conference “Tourism, services and alternative energies: the new challenges of the Region of Sardinia and local communities,” at 4:30 p.m. in the conference hall of San Francesco in Alghero. The Honorable Paola Deiana, deputy of the 5-Star Movement and member of the Environment Commission in the Chamber of Deputies; Regional Councillor for Tourism, Gianni Chessa; Regional Councillor for General Affairs, Valeria Satta; Mayor of Alghero, Mario Conoci; and CEO of Newtron Group, Nicola Venuto, will discuss the topic, moderated by Angelo Raffaele Pelillo, chairman of the Sustainable Mobility – Alternative Energies Commission of ACI, as well as vice president of the Alternative Energies Commission of FIA.

At 8:30 p.m. in Alghero’s Rally Village, fans will be able to meet the team principals of Hyundai, Toyota and Ford and the three top drivers who will be interviewed in the Meet The Crew event. Throughout the day, fans crowded the Barcelona waterfront where the team assistances and the stands of the Rally Italia Sardegna 2022 organization and sponsors are located, which can be visited until Sunday. The success of the public is such that the RIS Experience initiative passes, which allow exclusive access to the PS tracks and unique experiences, sold out on Wednesday, one day before the start of the event.

1. NEUVILLE-WYDAEGHE (HYUNDAI i 20 N Rally1) in 2’26.8; 2. KATSUTA-JOHNSTON (TOYOTA GR Yaris Rally1) a 0.5; 3. EVANS-MARTIN (TOYOTA GR Yaris Rally1) a 0.7; 4. ROVANPERA-HALTTUNEN (TOYOTA GR Yaris Rally1) a 1.0; 5. LAPPI-FERM (TOYOTA GR Yaris Rally1) a 1.0; 6. TANAK-JARVEOJA (HYUNDAI i 20 N Rally1) a 1.3; 7. SORDO-CARRERA (HYUNDAI i 20 N Rally1) a 1.7; 8. FOURMAUX-CORIA (Ford Puma Rally1) a 2.2; 9. BREEN-NAGLE (Ford Puma Rally1) a 2.4; 10. GREENSMITH-ANDERSSON (Ford Puma Rally1) a 3.4; 11. LOUBET-LANDAIS (Ford Puma Rally1) a 4.9; 12. BULACIA-DER OHANNESIAN (Skoda Fabia Evo) a 6.0; 13. MARCZYK-GOSPODARCZYK (Skoda Fabia Evo) a 6.4; 14. LINNAMAE-MORGAN (VOLKSWAGEN Polo GTI) a 6.9; 15. SUNINEN-MARKKULA (HYUNDAI i 20 N) a 7.4;

Thank you for reading!