Recce Updates McKleins Rally Tips have now been updated after our rally recce. You will be able to find the latest insights highlighted, to give you the most up-to-date overview for this rally.
Jumping in the dust is Rally Italia Sardegnas nickname and it certainly fits the bill. This rally has some huge, well-known jumps and a whole heap of dust on just about every corner. The Italian round of WRC always used to be based on the mainland, out of the town of Sanremo, and was traditionally held on mixed road surfaces in different provinces; gravel in Tuscany and asphalt in Liguria. In 2004 the rally moved to the island of Sardinia and became a single surface gravel event. Typically the stages are very fast, with a thin sandy base covering the hard bedrock surface below. Stage times on the second pass through tend to be much quicker than the first as the grip levels increase.
Sardinia is one of the most picturesque islands on the Mediterranean, its a big tourist destination and therefore this rally is an excellent one to visit and combine the sport with a holiday. The Rally HQ and service park are based in the seaside town Alghero on the west side of the island, which has its own airport and many hotels to choose from. The old town of Alghero is the perfect place to wander in the evenings, its full of quaint restaurants and bars, everything you would expect in a tourist town. Over on the east side of the island is Olbia, which also has an international airport and is reasonably close to Fridays stages. It takes around two and half hours to drive by car from Alghero to Olbia.
This is Italy, so everywhere you go you will always find good food and somewhere to stop for a drink – and always a proper fresh coffee. Most of the popular spectator points on the rally attract the usual mobile catering vans and stalls, the quality normally being quite high. For both food and great action, you will not go hungry on this rally.
Shakedown: Olmedo, 4.4km
There is a new shakedown, which was altered just a week before the event. The start is identical to the previous iteration which goes first uphill and after 300 metres turns 90° left on a wide and open corner. From there its narrow and medium fast all the way although lined with bushes that make visibility difficult. The best choice for spectating should be that 90° corner, which is also accessible from Olmedo parking.
SSS1: Itteri Arena Show, 2.0km
The rally properly kicks off on Thursday evening with a very short gravel super special stage around a man-made autocross circuit, close to the town of Itteri. You have super easy access because the circuit is very close to the main road and from most vantage points near the stage start you will see the cars sliding around several corners. There is a small jump in the track as well as little water splash. Its all good fun and a very gentle way to kick off the rally.
Food and drink:
If you are spending the night near Alghero then this is the perfect evening to enjoy the old town centre. Its just a short 3-5 minute walk up from the beachfront service park, and once there you have several interconnecting streets to explore and find your favourite restaurant.
If you are staying on the east side near Olbia then you should head for Mamabeach beach bar and restaurant found at Pittilongu, on the northeast side of the town. It was a firm favourite of the regular WRC fraternity when the event used to be based in Olbia.
SS2/6: Terranova, 21.00km
This year Terranova returns to the rally route, but in a much-modified configuration than was ever used before. Basically, for those who know the stage, its the full version of the traditional Terranova test, being run in the reverse direction to normal. There is good access on the west side, with many small roads and tracks reaching the stage from the N389 national road. Unfortunately, it avoids the classic part that passes spectacular rocks which has traditionally been lined with spectators. There is now little access, as it does not come close to the N389.
SS3/7: Monte Olia, 15.00km
Monte Olia is another old Sardinian stage not used since the rally moved to the Islands west coast. Unlike Terranova, there are no access roads into this stage, your only options are to either walk in from the stage start or finish, or to lock-in somewhere near the middle, remembering the road closes three hours before the stage start. If you do decide to lock-in, head for the highest point which youll find at km 6.5. Here you have the best views of rally cars absolutely flat-out in some stunning scenery.
Walking in from the start will be quite interesting. The first few corners are quite tight in a forested area amongst some old buildings featuring typical Sardinian wall murals. The stage finish is extremely fast and quite flat. For both the start and the finish you can park on the main N389 road.
SS4/8: Tula, 15.00km
From a spectating point of view this is the best stage of the day. As stages 2 and 3 offer so little this should be your choice for the day. It starts on a narrow road and climbs quite steep uphill, rising 250 metres in the first four kilometres. From the top it runs parallel to a main asphalt road, with plenty of traversing gravel turns on roads used to construct and maintain a wind farm. Its difficult to recommend one specific location, instead this area is perfect to roam around and pick the vantage points that suits you best.
From km 9 the stage returns to a narrow road and goes very steeply downhill, all the way to the finish, with very little to see in this section. Access into the mid-section is best coming from the north, via Sa Mela, then Erula, the road from Erula brings you to km 4.4 of the stage. Erula can also be used for a lunchtime snack stop.
SS5/9: Tergu – Osilo, 14.91km
This is quite a tricky stage for spectator access; unfortunately the places you can get to are not the most typical of the rally and quite far removed from Jumping in the dust.
The first interesting location is at km 4.7, its a very well know intersection on asphalt. The cars approach the first part of this junction on gravel, they make a right turn onto asphalt, then continue along a sweeping left before turning off to the left, back onto gravel. To access this junction from Biancareddu village, take the SP 57 towards Sassari, turn left and follow signs to Castelsardo. Then take the SS 200 and follow directions for Sennori, turn left following directions for Nulvi, reaching the SP 29 you will find the parking area.
At km 13 there is a tight left-hand corner commonly known as The bend of the People. It can provide good sideways action, particularly as the drivers will be on well-worn tyres having driven four consecutive stages. Also here you have panoramic views for a long part of the stage, however do note that this location gets very popular with spectators. For access the best advice is to head to the stage finish nice and early, and take a leisurely walk-in for approximately 2.5km. If you feel more adventurous, study Google Earth or any quality GPS device and take a hike across country direct to the hairpin.
Food and drink:
Stopping for a bite to eat all depends on where you are as the day is long and quite spread out. Theres not so many options around the Terranova and Monte Olia stages, however if you are spectating in the two stages to the East then you have plenty of villages to try out.
SS10/13: Coiluna – Loelle, 14.60km
This is one of the traditional long-standing stages of the rally and full of interesting places to go and watch. The first point of interest is a really good one and well worth going to, it comes at km 2.8 and is known as Rinos jump – dont ask why, we dont know! Its a spectacular jump and one you will recognise in photographs from previous years. Our advice for a different perspective on the jump would be to climb up the rocks, which are just before the crest. Once settled there (if its a clear day) you can sit in perfect sunshine with a great overview of the jump. To access this point you must drive to Alà dei Sardi, and find the tarmac road at the back of the football stadium. Follow this road for 4.3km where the road changes to gravel, here just go straight for another 2.6km, where you turn left. Keep straight for another 700 metres, then turn left and find some parking around here. You continue by foot to reach Rinos jump.
The next point of real interest is at km 12.5. Its known as the Buddusò Arena and its a man-made autocross style track featuring many different dusty corners and a small jump. Basically here you see the cars in action for a long time. If this is not your cup of tea, then you walk back down the stage just another 400 metres and will be in amongst some cork trees. Seeing the cars wind their way on narrow tracks through the trees is quite interesting, the impression of speed here is amazing. To get to the arena from Buddusò you just drive past the stage finish on the SS 389 road, after 700 metres you cross a bridge and immediately turn left onto a gravel track. After 450 metres turn right, then after 200 metres turn right. Soon you will see the arena, so just park anywhere in this open flat area.
SS11/14: Monti Di Ala, 28.90km
By Sardinian stages this is a long one, however it is actually quite remote and not well served by good access roads. The easiest access is close to the start, coming in at km 3.5. You should follow the road to the stage start from Alà dei Sardi, turning left onto another gravel road about 1km before the start. You will reach the stage at a long wide right-hand corner in completely open countryside. Alternatively walk back 400 metres towards the stage start and you will see an interesting uphill section with some very fast corners.
The most popular place to be is an access road coming to the stage from the south and meeting it at about kilometre 6,5. It is all very open there with great views and action. Just before the right-hander, where you meet the stage, there is a really high-speed section. The access road comes from Buddusò. You take the newly built section of the N389 and exit Buddusò east, then go west for about 500 metres and take the next tarmac road to the right, which will then climb uphill to the stage. For sure, it is one of the best locations of the event!
SS12/15: Monte Lerno, 29.10km
This is the Daddy of all Sardinian stages, mainly because of one jump, found at km 5.5. This is no ordinary jump however, this is Mickys Jump and its really big . If youve never seen this jump before then it should be first on your list of must-see locations on this rally, its got a great atmosphere. The access to the jump comes off the main SS 389 road. Take the turning to Nuraghe Lerno, after 160 metres turn right, follow this for 4.8km where you turn right and go uphill on gravel. Drive as far as you can, park and then walk the rest of the way – this could be a couple of kilometres depending on how early/late you arrive.
The next best location for spectating on this stage comes just another 600 metres further from Mickys jump. Here there are series of corners in between huge granite rocks, with a view to Lerno Lake in the distance. A good choice for spectating on Saturday would be to see the Monte Lerno stage twice, once in the morning at the rocks and the second time at Mickys Jump in the afternoon. Leave a big picnic in your car and return to enjoy it at leisure in between the two runs.
Food and drink:
Buddusò is your best bet for a good lunch and you can eat well at the Hotel Maddoninas restaurant. Alternatively there are a couple of snack bars in the town.
SS16/18: Cala Flumini, 14.06km
The first stage on Sunday is a very pretty one with really good access and plenty of choices. Our recommendations are to head towards the stage finish because the action is fast and the views are quite stunning. At km 11.7 you have a spectacular section with a fast left-hand corner with the bay of Cala Flumini in the background. To reach this point, go north to the village of Biancareddu and there you turn left at signpost for sentiero costiero Nurra-B&B. Follow the road for a short distance to the stage.
The best place in our opinion for viewing is the final corner of the stage. Here you have a postcard view of the coast as the cars negotiate a really fast downhill left-hand corner at the flying finish. To get here from Alghero you should follow directions for Fertilla, until the village of Palmadula. In the village turn right towards Stintino (SP 57) until km 18, where you turn left towards Maragazza la Chintana After 2.8km you will reach a place to park and the finish is just a short walk away.
SS17/19 (Power Stage): Sassari – Argentiera, 6.96km
This is one of the best stages in the whole WRC. Forget about the beginning and the first 4km, its after this point that it gets really interesting as the stage reaches the coast. From here the road is actually more of a track bulldozed into the grass and dust which, when it is hot and dry in June, becomes mega dusty. The final 500 metres of the stage follows the coastline with a superb view and this is where you should be. If you go early and drive into the stage from Porto Palmas north to Cala Ebi Dozzi you can park there and watch the rally cars. Between the two runs you can also have a swim, but there is no exit until the last car is through. WRC rallying cannot be better than it is at this location, however if it is a rainy day things could be quite different.
Food and drink:
For a spot of catering you can find something to eat and drink in the village of Palmadula which offers two very overcrowded coffee places for that morning, so best you bring you own and have a lunch afterwards in Alghero.