29 Gennaio 2023

Rally Italia Sardegna – Day One Report

2022 FIA World Rally Championship Round 05, Rally Italia Sardegna 2-5 June 2022 Thierry Neuville Photographer: Austral Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

  • Hyundai Motorsport is involved in a tantalisingly close fight for the lead of Rally Italia Sardegna, with Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja just 0.7s adrift in second place
  • Dani Sordo and Cándido Carrera hold fifth overall, as the crew targets its second consecutive podium finish of the season
  • Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe secured a stage win on Thursday’s super special but a transmission problem at the end of Friday morning dropped them to ninth.

Alghero, Italy

June 3, 2022 – Hyundai Motorsport has signalled its victory intentions on a curtailed day of action at Rally Italia Sardegna, the fifth round of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), on which two stages were cancelled.

Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja found competitive pace in their Hyundai i20 N Rally1 car to end Friday’s itinerary just 0.7s from the lead. Fresh from their third place in Portugal, Dani Sordo and Cándido Carrera claimed two stage wins to hold fifth position, just one second from the provisional podium places.

Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe had started the rally in style with a stage win on Thursday evening’s super special (SSS1 Olbia-Cabu Abbas). Unfortunately, the crew was struck by a rear transmission issue on Friday that dropped them, frustratingly, down to ninth overall.

Today’s schedule began with a repeated loop of two stages: Terranova (SS2/SS4, 14.19km) and Monti di Ala (SS3/SS5 24.70km), the longest individual test of the weekend. Visibility issues on the Sardinian gravel roads affected the crews’ concentration initially but the picture started to become clearer on the second pass. A Hyundai 1-2-3, led by Sordo, in the repeat of Terranova allowed Tänak to move into a slender lead with all crews in the fight for front-running positions.

Sadly, Monti di Ala delivered highs and lows that have become typical of the team’s season to date. On the positives, Sordo took a second stage win, while Tänak extended his lead to 3.7 seconds. On the flip side, Neuville was slowed by a transmission problem, the cause of which the team needs to investigate.

The afternoon loop was scheduled to cover two runs through Osilo-Tergu (SS6/SS8 14.63km) and Sedini-Castelsardo (SS7/SS9, 13.26km). Hyundai Motorsport’s Estonian crew secured its first stage win of the weekend straight after lunchtime service but dropped to second on the overall classification after SS7. Cancellation of the day’s final stages maintained the order, as the team prepares to mount a renewed charge on Saturday.

Crew Notes: Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (#8 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

  • Estonians led after three of Friday’s six stages, including fastest time in SS6 (Osilo-Tergu)
  • The pair are just 0.7s from the rally lead

Tänak said: “Today’s focus was all about getting a good road position for tomorrow’s stages, and we have achieved that. The guys we are fighting are around us on the order, so the game is much fairer. We had some extreme Sardinia stages this morning between the trees and at high speed; in these places with limited visibility, you can only keep your fingers crossed. We survived the morning and the car felt better on the second loop. In the afternoon, it was a bit more difficult. It was as if the car had three-wheel drive on the final run, which affected the braking and acceleration. The two cancelled stages gave us a chance to bring the car back to service and get it all checked out for tomorrow. We need to go out and fight for the win.”

Crew Notes: Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (#6 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

  • Spanish crew aiming for their second podium finish of 2022
  • Two stage wins on Friday helped them to hold fifth place, one second from third place

Sordo said: “We’ve had a good first ‘proper’ day and we are again in the podium fight. We lost a lot of time on the opening stages with the dust, which put us far from the lead, but we’ve come back a bit since. Without that, we’d be a lot closer for sure. I think overall we are performing better than in Portugal if you look at the times. I have completed more kilometres in the car, but I still need some time to adapt; the cars weigh more, it’s a different way of driving, braking points aren’t the same, that sort of thing. Overall, we are in promising shape, and we have a long day tomorrow. We’ll keep pushing for the podium.”

Crew Notes: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (#11 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

  • Transmission problem on SS5 (Monti di Ala) ruined the Belgians’ day
  • Dropped to ninth, over two minutes behind the rally leaders

Neuville said: “It was not a great day. We lost the rear drive at the end of the morning and had to do the stage with front wheel drive. The team needs to investigate what happened exactly. It’s sad because I had a better and better feeling from the car, and we were getting closer to the top places. It is what it is, we’re ninth but two minutes from the lead, which means our rally is effectively over. We did the two afternoon stages as best we could, but nothing really changed. Anything can happen, of course. It’s going to be a rough day tomorrow, and I wish my team-mates the best of luck in their fight for the win. The manufacturer points are just as important as the driver ones. From my side, I’ll see how things go; if I feel good in the car, I’ll try to push and have some fun.”

Deputy Team Director Julien Moncet said: “Starting with the positives, Ott has shown strong pace throughout the whole day, and we are pleased to see him in the fight for victory. All in all, we have seen an encouraging performance from our car with three stage wins today. Dani also had a strong day. He is in fifth place but only one second from the podium positions. The rally is wide open, even if his road position tomorrow won’t be as favourable. On the downside, we had an issue with the rear transmission on Thierry’s car that caused him a lot of time at the end of the morning, despite his fast pace. His rally is a bit different now, two minutes from the lead, so the target is to bring home as many points as we can.”

Saturday at a Glance

  • With the cancellation of SS8 and SS9 on Friday, Saturday’s itinerary has become the longest of the rally weekend, covering 131.82km
  • Eight special stages will be contested, a repeated loop in the morning and afternoon sessions, separated by a tyre fitting zone
  • An early start will see crews tackle Tempio Pausania (12.03km) and Erula-Tula (15.27km) twice, followed by Coiluna-Loelle (21.60km) and Monte Lerno di Pattada (17.01km)
  • Monte Lerno, a regular fixture on the Sardinian gravel event, includes the famous Micky’s Jump.

Classification after Day One

1E. LappiJ. FermToyota GR Yaris Rally11:10:41.9
2O. TänakM. JärveojaHyundai i20 N Rally1+0.7
3P. L. LoubetV. LandaisFord Puma Rally1+15.1
4C. BreenP. NagleFord Puma Rally1+15.5
5D. SordoC. CarreraHyundai i20 N Rally1+16.1
6A. FourmauxA. CoriaFord Puma Rally1+30.8
7T. KatsutaA. JohnstonToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1:05.5
8K. RovanperäJ. HalttunenToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1:13.1
9T. NeuvilleM. WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally1+2:07.2