Ridiculous start at Rally Sardinia – “The guy who invented this should be fired”

Rally Sardinia kicked off on Friday morning with a shakedown stage.
Thierry Neuville
Thierry Neuville. Photo by: Austral/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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The purpose of the shakedown is to provide drivers with a good warm-up, allowing them to fine-tune their vehicles for the main rally. Typically, the conditions of the shakedown should somewhat reflect the nature of the rally itself.

This was not the case in Sardinia.

The shakedown for the Sardinian gravel event was held on a rallycross track, where drivers manoeuvred their cars for a couple of kilometres.

Thierry Neuville, who clocked the fastest time on the shakedown, expressed his blunt opinion on the warm-up for Rally Sardinia after his first run.

“There was no opportunity at all to test the car. This shakedown is just ridiculous, and the guy who invented this should be fired,” stated Neuville, who is leading the WRC standings.

Rally Sardinia is being run this time with an unusual format, resulting in the first special stage not being scheduled until Friday afternoon. No spectator stages are being held over the weekend, which might explain why Friday morning’s shakedown also served as a spectator-friendly stage.

“We can’t do anything here. We will hit the stages without knowing how the car is working,” Neuville remarked.

The results of the shakedown stage don’t provide any significant conclusions for the actual competition. Neuville was the fastest, followed by Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai’s Dani Sordo. Ott Tänak and Takamoto Katsuta occupied the next positions.

It was also noteworthy that Pierre-Louis Loubet, driving a Skoda Rally2 car, managed to finish sixth. He outperformed main class drivers Adrien Fourmaux, Elfyn Evans, and Gregoire Munster.

The first four special stages of the rally will be run on Friday.

Rally Sardinia standings after shakedown:

1.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai2:13.7
2.Sebastien OgierToyota2:14.2
3.Dani SordoHyundai2:14.7
4.Ott TänakHyundai2:14.9
5.Takamoto KatsutaToyota2:15.3
6.Pierre-Louis LoubetSkoda2:15.6
7.Adrien FourmauxFord2:15.9
8.Elfyn EvansToyota2:16.1
9.Martin ProkopSkoda2:16.8
10.Fabrizio ZaldivarSkoda2:17.2

Itinerary for Rally Sardinia (CET):

Friday 31.5.

08.01 Shakedown: Ittiri (2,08 km)
14.33 SS1: Osilo - Tergu 1 (25,65 km)
15.33 SS2: Sedini - Castelsardo 1 (13,26 km)
17.33 SS3: Osilo - Tergu 2 (25,65 km)
18.35 SS4: Sedini - Castelsardo 2 (13,26 km)

Saturday 1.6.

07.41 SS5: Tempio Pausania 1 (12,03 km)
08.49 SS6: Tula 1 (22,61 km)
10.41 SS7: Tempio Pausania 2 (12,03 km)
11.49 SS8: Tula 2 (22,61 km)
14.05 SS9: Monte Lerno - Monti di Ala 1 (25,33 km)
15.05 SS10: Coiluna - Loelle 1 (14,53 km)
17.05 SS11: Monte Lerno - Monti di Ala 2 (25,33 km)
18.05 SS12: Coiluna - Loelle 2 (14,53 km)

Sunday 2.6.

08.00 SS13: Cala Flumini 1 (12,55 km)
09.05 SS14: Sassari - Argentiera 1 (7,10 km)
11.00 SS15: Cala Flumini 2 (12,55 km)
12.15 SS16: Sassari - Argentiera 2 (7,10 km) *Power Stage

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