FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Italia Sardegna

18 June 2016

Some of the best gravel stages in the world on arguably the prettiest rally on the WRC calendar

The preparation for a rally event is always something that must be taken seriously and is something that most people over look. It’s not just a case of turning up and hoping to find a good spot. Hours of research and planning goes into making the most of a FIA World Rally Championship event. Some events can be a royal pain to organise with a lack of information from the organisers or just stages that don’t inspire. The Rally Italia Sardegna is definitely not one of those events.

To begin planning for a WRC event you have to first sort all of the basics out; your flights and accomodation. You can then begin to look at the itinerary and route map to figure out what’s do-able and what stages you can easily hop between.

The Rally Italia Sardegna can be clearly split into three very defined days as the landscape wildly changes between the days. The first is a day of rolling hills and forested sections, the second is more rocky with spectacular rock formations along with massive jumps. The final day is coastal with the stages running literally right along the beach front. It’s really important to showcase this change in environment as the rally progresses as it captures the story.

I begin to look at areas of the stages that look interesting, using the spectator points as a starting point, and Google Street viewing the stages if possible. Surprisingly for Italy most of the rally stages, despite being on some of the roughest surfaces in the WRC, are all street viewed! Once I’ve picked out the stages I want to go to you can start to create a rough itinerary of arrival times (allowing at least an hour before the stage begins) and when we need to leave the stage to make the next location.

Before the event I’ll have paper work showing all the routes to the stages (making sure to avoid any road closures), GPS co-ordinates of every location all pre-programmed into a satellite navigation system, a full itinerary detailing everything we’ll need to know, full maps of the stages and much more. It’s a lot of effort in preparation but it definitely pays off to be well organised for an rally like this where you want to get the maximum out of the weekend. Realistically you only get 2-3 passes of the top tier cars per day so you always want to make sure you are in the right spot for when they come past.

It’s when you get out to the stages that you hope all the hard work preparing is worth it! Luckily for Rally Italia Sardegna it definitely did with some of the best gravel stages in the world on arguably the prettiest rally on the WRC calendar. Hopefully you’ll agree that the preparation paid off…