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WRC live, Rally Italia Sardinia 2024

Thrilling finale in Italy, Ott Tanak wins Rally Italia Sardegna over Ogier. Eight-time World Champion got a puncture in last kilometers and finished second by only 0.2 seconds. Third place for Dani Sordo, Neuville dominates Super Sunday

Images by Barabas, Bacigalupi, and Magnano – Texts by the editorial staff

Rally cars on the sea, it’s Sardinia! Ott Tanak is going to win his third Rally Italia Sardegna

SUNDAY THRILLING: TANAK WINS RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA ON LAST STAGE

Incredible finish at the Rally Italia Sardegna, where Ott Tanak triumphed in his Hyundai for the third time. The Estonian driver overtook Sebastien Ogier’s Toyota, who suffered a puncture right in the final Power Stage. Tanak secured victory in the Italian WRC round by a mere 0.2 seconds, edging out the eight-time world champion. Before the last special stage, Tanak was in second place, trailing Ogier by 6.2 seconds, but he managed to turn the situation around and clinch a crucial win. Unfortunately for Ogier, his dream of winning the Italian WRC round for the fifth time and securing three consecutive rally wins in 2024 slipped away. The 2024 Rally Italia Sardegna equaled the 2011 Rally Jordan, which was won by Ogier with a gap of just 0.2 seconds over Jari-Matti Latvala. Elfyn Evans finished fourth on Toyota, followed by Gregoire Munster on Ford Puma.

Ogier was unlucky this time

Consistent and solid Dani Sordo took third place, completing the podium with the second Hyundai. Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville claimed the Super Sunday. The Belgian Hyundai driver had jeopardized his chances with a Saturday error, but he redeemed himself with a superb performance in the final day, earning valuable points for the championship standings. Neuville still leads WRC standings at 117 thanks to 7 points gained on Sunday. Elfyn Evans chases in second position at 101 points, third is Tanak at 100.

Dani Sordo flies over italian see

In the WRC2 category, Sami Pajari continued to dominate with the new Toyota Yaris Rally2. The Yaris Rally2 is proving increasingly competitive and aims to challenge the Skoda Fabia’s monopoly in the category, especially in national races. Notably, the day’s news includes a WRC2 podium without a single Skoda. Rossel, driving a Citroen, secured second place, while Spanish driver Solans, in another Toyota, took third. Prokop’s Skoda finished fourth but was over two minutes behind the leaders. Paraguaian Diego Dominguez won the WRC3 category in the single-brand Ford Fiesta Rally3 championship. Second place for turkish driver Ali Turkkan and third for Max Smart from South Africa.

The Rally Italia Sardegna has confirmed itself as one of the toughest races on the calendar, but also one of the most spectacular. Since 2004, the WRC has made a stop on the Italian island, and many local fans hope that the agreement between the region’s government and the WRC promoter will be renewed. Rumors say that there could soon be good news, and the race could continue to be hosted by the large island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

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Sami Pajari, WRC2 winner

Words from drivers after the Power Stage

Ott Tanak: “Tough weekend, this stage there was no road and some huge stones. It was difficult to do much more. I want to congratulate my daughter Miia, she got her first podium today so we will celebrate our podiums tomorrow.”

Sebastien Ogier: “Puncture. Not much I can do. It’s not rally, it’s like cross country. Not much I can do. That’s life, I think we deserved more than that but at least Ott has done a good rally as well.”

Dani Sordo: “I was controlling it a little bit because Elfyn was making good steps, it’s nice to see him back in the rhythm today. I tried to look after the car, it is not completely destroyed but it is really, really bad in the car. You will see me again, we will finish now with the podium and this will make me very happy.”

Elfyn Evans: “It’s been a tough weekend, today was better in these conditions. It wasn’t the weekend we wanted, it’s a change of pace now in the championship and hopefully we can find our form again.”

Gregoire Munster: “I think we finish with a decent result and some points grabbed yesterday. We had a small issue with the engine and didn’t want to risk anything so we didn’t do more than 70 percent on the throttle, just to keep it healthy for future events.”

Adrien Fourmaux: “It’s been a difficult rally for us. We can be happy about our pace on Friday and Saturday. We struggled on the medium and fast stages today, I wanted to do a good rally for our friend Iain who sadly left us last week. I’m sure we will be back.”

Takamoto Katsuta: “I was trying to push a lot. It’s a great shame what happened yesterday. Rally is very demanding – I accept this weekend and move on for the next one.”

Thierry Neuville: “We’re gonna see how many points we get, still a lot of cleaning. Not proud of what happened yesterday. We were controlling the speed and we felt good in the car, but I lost concentration for a tenth of a second. It wasn’t a big mistake but it was enough for the car to get stuck, I’m sorry for the team. We did the job Friday and we did the job today, but yesterday was not good.”

Sami Pajari: “It was really nice, I was hoping for a good result after the disappointment in Portugal. We knew the pace was there we just needed to put it together. The team was doing a good job and the car is really, really fast so we just needed a good driver to finish it!”

LEG 2: OGIER STILL DOMINATES

Sebastien Ogier, with an afternoon worthy of a true champion, returns as the leader of Rally Italia Sardegna with his Toyota. Now, the Frenchman’s advantage over Tanak’s Hyundai has increased to 17.1 seconds. The eight-time world champion won three out of four special stages in the afternoon loop, leaving only stage number 12 to his teammate Elfyn Evans, who picked up speed after a difficult start to the race.

The third and final leg on Sunday still includes four special stages, among which is the Power Stage that offers valuable points for the standings. The last day of racing will be very interesting, especially due to the challenge that awards points for just this third leg. However, all eyes will nonetheless be on Ogier, who is increasingly flying towards his third consecutive victory in WRC 2024. He confirms himself as one of the greatest champions in history, capable of adapting to any car and staying at the top for a very long career. He alone has managed to win with every manufacturer he has competed with in WRC.

Tanak keeps strong second position

Katsuta is struggling with transmission problems in his Toyota and has to abandon third place. Beyond the first two positions, the gaps are very large. Dani Sordo with Hyundai is over two minutes behind in third place. Evans follows him in fourth position, while Munster climbs to fifth place with Ford. Pajari remains firmly in the lead of WRC2 with Toyota, ahead of direct rivals Rossel on Citroen and Solans on another Toyota Rally2.

Pajari keeps the lead in WRC2 on Toyota

Sebastien Ogier: “It has been a positive day, and an even more positive afternoon. This morning’s stages were very rough, but I enjoyed the afternoon so much more and it was a pleasure to drive the car.”

Ott Tanak: “I expected that this second half of the day wouldn’t be so complicated, but I do like these stages. Let’s see one more day, but this was a long, long day. They are two very different roads tomorrow, one quite wide and one quite narrow.”

Gregoire Munster: “I think the issue from SS11 might be heat related, in this one it felt a bit better, the grip is still very low. I struggle with the bite in the brakes, after a long day they lost the bite so it is difficult because of how slippery it is. It is hard to know when to brake.”

Elfyn Evans: “We’ve been helped a lot by our rivals with how things have been this weekend, fourth place is fine but not where we want to be fighting. It’s quite different to what we’ve done so far tomorrow, so we have to try and up our game a bit and see what is possible.”

Dani Sordo: “I have a little bit more difficulty with this, it is very slippery in some places. I pushed as best I can. It was a little bit faster than before. The stages tomorrow you can gain a lot of time or lose a lot of time. The stages are sandy and narrow so we need to focus.”

Sami Pajari: “A bit better, last time we had a slow puncture. At least this time was without a puncture. It’s a nice feeling being in the lead, tomorrow is four stages again so we need to see if they are getting closer or not, but it should be fine.”

SATURDAY MORNING: TANAK TAKES THE LEAD, NEUVILLE OUT

Already halfway through Saturday’s stage, the Rally Italia Sardegna seems to have taken a direction that will hardly change. The race, for now, appears to be a private matter between Ott Tanak and Sebastien Ogier. The Estonian driver of Hyundai took the lead after special stage 8, and his advantage over the French Toyota driver is 3.5 seconds. Tanak and Ogier exchanged the first position three times in the morning, and their fight is thrilling all WRC fans both present in Sardinia and connected from all over the world. Ogier comes out of the last morning test with noticeable damage to the rear left side of his Yaris but seems to have no problems.

Dramatic saturday for Thierry Neuville

A truly exciting challenge is unfolding on the Italian island, between spectacular dirt roads and the usual incredible crowd. Far behind in third place is Takamoto Katsuta on Toyota, more than a minute behind the leader. It’s been a decidedly bad day for Thierry Neuville, who went off-road at km 15.5 of special stage 8 and got stuck with his Hyundai. Dani Sordo holds the fourth position, followed by Elfyn Evans (he got a puncture on SS8) and the surprising Sami Pajari, who leads in WRC2 with the Toyota Yaris Rally2.

The race confirms that it’s very tough for both drivers and machines: dust, rocks, and extreme conditions make Rally Italia Sardegna one of the most challenging events in the World Championship.

Takamoto Katsuta: “Very very rough. Not so easy to keep the same rhythm as first pass. The lines are very different.”

Ott Tanak:Terrible stage, like driving without powersteering. So difficult to drive. Quite exhausted, sorry.”

Dani Sordo:I saw Thierry and I was really disappointed. Upset. I’m out of risk.”

Stunning views on italian stages

DAY 1 – OGIER LEADS

Sebastien Ogier ends the first day of the Rally Italia Sardegna on a high note. The race is experimenting with the new WRC format, featuring a Friday morning shakedown and the entire race condensed into just 48 hours.

The eight-time world champion from Toyota leads the rally after the first four special stages on Friday. Ogier started fifth and benefited from the tracks left by the four preceding drivers. Ott Tanak showed strong form, putting his Hyundai in second place, 4.5 seconds behind Ogier. His teammate Dani Sordo trails in third place, 33.5 seconds behind. Takamoto Katsuta impressed with a top-five finish in the second Toyota, ahead of Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai. Neuville had the challenging task of opening the road today, while Elfyn Evans also performed well in the Toyota. Gregorie Munster, driving a Ford, rounds out the top seven in the Rally1 classification. Unfortunately, it was a tough day for Adrien Fourmaux, who suffered a puncture on the third special stage and later retired due to issues with his Ford Puma on the fourth stage.

Good start for Tanak

In the WRC2 category, Sami Pajari’s Toyota secured the top spot, with an 18.3-second lead over Loubet’s Skoda and a 32.1-second advantage over the other Toyota driven by Solans.

Saturday’s second leg promises to be challenging, with 149 kilometers of special stages and no midday service park. Among the most anticipated and spectacular moments will be the legendary Micky’s Jump on the Monte Lerno stage.

Sebastien Ogier: “It’s been extremely rough and demanding for the tyres and I am happy that we made it because it was challenging with only five tyres.”

Thierry Neuville: “That has definitely been the hardest day you could imagine to open the road on in Sardinia. A tough day for us, but we will carry on.”

Takamoto Katsuta: “It didn’t feel so good all day, need to find out why. Wrong way to go, so we need to keep pushing and find a solution.”

Elfyn Evans: “We can’t feel too sorry for ourselves because it is me behind the wheel, it’s been a bad way to start but we have to keep trying tomorrow and see what comes of the event.”

Typical Sardinian atmosphere

Shakedown

The shakedown of the Rally Italia Sardegna, held this morning in Ittiri, speaks Belgian. In the 2 timed kilometers completed in the curved toboggan of the Arena Ittiri, the fastest was Thierry Neuville paired with Martin Wyadaeghe on the Hyundai i20 rally1.

The winner of the last edition of the RIS stops the clock at 2’13″7, five tenths ahead of his all-time rival, Sébastien Ogier at the wheel of the Toyota Yaris GR rally1. The Frenchman seeks redemption in Sardinia after retiring last year edition occurred on Erula’s test, when he was leading the race

Third position for Dani Sordo, the winner of the 2019 and 2020 editions, in his second race of the season after Portugal, paid for a second behind his teammate, Neuville. Fourth place for the other Hyundai i20 rally1 in the race, that of Estonian Ott Tänak, winner of the 2022 edition of the Sardinian race.

Fifth time for Takamoto Katsuta, the Japanese from Toyota pays for a 1″6 delay from the leader Neuville. Sixth time and first among the WRC2 entries for the Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet at the wheel of the Škoda Fabia RS rally2, seventh time for Adrien Fourmaux (Ford Puma rally1), while Elfyn Evans set the eighth fastest time. Ninth place and second in WRC2 for Fabrizio Zaldívar (Skoda Fabia RS rally2), followed in tenth place by the Finn Teemu Suninen on the Hyundai i20 rally2.

The President of the Region of Sardinia, Alessandra Todde, also took part in the shakedown and sat next to the Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux in the role of exceptional navigator.

The Rally Italia Sardinia 2024 ignites the engines of the cars participating in the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. On Thursday, May 30, in Alghero, the opening ceremony and city parade will take place at 7:30 PM. Also on Thursday, the service park and all the stands along Lungomare Garibaldi will open. On Wednesday and Thursday, the crews conducted reconnaissance of the 266 km route covering 16 special stages, under the supervision of the Race Officials.

Numerous activities are scheduled for Thursday, May 30, including the Coldiretti Conference dedicated to Sardinian olive oil at 3:00 PM; the photo session of the World Championship crews at 5:30 PM at the Bastioni, followed by the performance of the Mores Choir on the race podium, organized by the Automobile Club d’Italia with the support of the Regione Sardinia; at 6:10 PM the autograph session at the Service Park at the ACI/Sardegna house; at 7:00 PM the cars entered the starting grid at the Banchina Dogana and then on the FIA Meet the Crew stage with teams and drivers.

The opening ceremony and city parade featured 8 Rally1 cars, 42 Rally2 cars, 5 Rally3 cars, 12 Rally4 cars, and 2 Rally5 cars, for a total of 87 registered crews parading through the streets of Alghero. The day concluded at 9:00 PM with a performance by the Mores Choir at the Coldiretti Village with street food and music.

Team Toyota
Team Toyota

Pre-race statements from the “big names”

Here are some statements about the race from the top drivers. Sébastien Ogier, recent winner in the last two races in Croatia and Portugal with Toyota, said: “We had great tests in Sardinia a month ago and we’re starting the race in a good position, we’re fifth at the start. In Portugal, we saw that the Yaris performed well in sandy areas similar to Sardinia. For this reason, I am confident, although the race will be tough, and it will be crucial to manage the tires well. I hope to have another winning run on the Sardinian gravel.”

The championship leader, Belgian Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville, added: “The Rally Italia Sardinia is a very technical test, so we need to have a mistake-free weekend. We must prepare very precise notes and have the perfect setup for our car. We will try to push to the maximum, although it won’t be easy because we at Hyundai didn’t do any pre-race tests this time and the shakedown is not representative of the race. Starting first on Friday is certainly a disadvantage.”

And here is Elfyn Evans, Neuville’s closest competitor in the drivers’ standings: “Portugal didn’t go well for us, now we’ll try to bounce back in Sardinia. I’m confident we can do well, we will give our best in preparing for the race and the car for this always tough event.”

Already a two-time winner in Alghero, Spanish driver Dani Sordo aims for a third victory: “After Portugal, I feel ready to give my best in Sardinia. I am aware of having an excellent starting position since I start eighth on Friday, and I need to optimize this opportunity. The goal is to finish on the podium, but honestly, I wouldn’t mind fighting for the win.”

In Alghero, Ott Tanak won with Hyundai two years ago: “It will certainly be hot, and managing the tires will not be easy. It’s a race I’ve always liked, the goal is to do the best possible and maybe win again.”

Where to follow the Rally Italia Sardinia 2024

With the Rally Italia Sardinia 2024 just hours away, it’s time to get ready to follow the event organized by the Automobile Club d’Italia with the support of the Regione Sardegna, the only Italian round of the FIA World Rally Championship. From May 30 to June 2, the event will be in full swing, offering many opportunities to follow it live via television, web, and social media, so you won’t miss a moment of the excitement and spectacle.

Rally.tv, the official web TV of the championship, will broadcast the entire event live, with coverage from all the special stages thanks to its on-demand service, which also offers the option of a single event subscription. The official social media pages of the event on Facebook (@rallyitaliasardegna), Instagram (@rallyitaliasardegna), and X (@rally_d_italia) will provide real-time content from the start, finish, key moments of the extra events, and exclusive content from all the special stages.

This extensive media coverage will ensure international visibility, further strengthening the image of the Rally Italia Sardinia and the associated brands. The schedule, along with social media coverage plans, will allow fans to follow the event from home, from the special stages, and from anywhere.

Below is a summary of the TV coverage:

Thursday, May 30, 2024

  • 6:30 PM – RAI 2 TG Sport

Friday, May 31, 2024

  • 8:00 AM – Shakedown Ittiri Arena – Facebook FIA World Rally Championship (@officialwrc) and Rally Italia Sardinia (@rallyitaliasardegna)
  • 6:30 PM – RAI Sport HD (Channel 58 Digital Terrestrial) Live SS4 “Sedini-Castelsardo”
  • 6:30 PM – SKY Sport F1, SKY GO and Now TV – Live SS4 “Sedini-Castelsardo”

Saturday, June 1, 2024

  • 3:00 PM – RAI Sport HD (Channel 58 Digital Terrestrial) Live SS10 “Coiluna-Loelle”
  • 3:00 PM – SKY Sport Max, SKY GO and Now TV – Live SS10 “Coiluna-Loelle”
  • 6:00 PM – RAI Sport HD (Channel 58 Digital Terrestrial) Live SS12 “Coiluna-Loelle”
  • 6:00 PM – SKY Sport F1, SKY GO and Now TV – Live SS12 “Coiluna-Loelle”

Sunday, June 2, 2024

  • 9:00 AM – RAI Sport HD (Channel 58 Digital Terrestrial) Live SS14 “Sassari-Argentiera”
  • 9:00 AM – SKY Sport F1, SKY Sport Max, SKY GO and Now TV – Live SS14 “Sassari-Argentiera”
  • 12:00 PM – SKY Sport F1, SKY Sport Max, SKY GO and Now TV – Live SS16 “Sassari-Argentiera” Power Stage
  • 12:10 PM – RAI Sport HD (Channel 58 Digital Terrestrial) Live SS16 “Sassari-Argentiera” Power Stage
  • 4:00 PM – RAI 2 Live