The second gravel rally of the 2021 season brought lots of drama not only in the overall classification but in support categories WRC2 and WRC3 as well. While mostly extremely rough and rocky, the stages also surprised with numerous water splashes. Overall, the conditions demanded clever tactics from the crews. Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG) of team Toksport WRT finished third in WRC2 – but only after surviving a roll during the last leg. “It was a very fast roll. Just one time and we continued immediately,” he explained after losing as little as 4.9 seconds to the category’s winning time in stage 18. Without any major damage to their car, Bulacia/Der Ohannesian tackled the remaining stages and reached the finish still third in WRC2.
For Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene the rally was over after four stages. Getting their rolled ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo back onto four wheels with the help from spectators, the Norwegians made it back to service. But closer inspection discovered structural damage to the car’s roll cage. For safety reasons, the car was withdrawn by the team. Despite this setback, Andreas Mikkelsen still leads the WRC2 drivers’ standings overall.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, who came to Sardinia after back-to-back WRC3 victories in Croatia and Portugal, were locked in a duel with their old rivals Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria right from the start. But during the last stage of Friday, the Polish crew in the RaceSeven run ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo slid into a ditch. “The car had no damage at all. But unfortunately there were no spectators around to push it back onto the road,” Kajetanowicz explained. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak returned to the action with a re-start on Saturday. Stage after stage they climbed the result list, with posting the second fastest WRC3 time in the Powerstage finally saving eight drivers’ championship points with eighth in WRC3.
Pepe Lopéz (ESP) and co-driver Diego Valleja (ESP) started their only second WRC3 outing with a bang. After stage 5, the Rally Team Spain ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo was leading WRC3. Although losing top spot soon after, they managed to stay out of trouble for the rest of the rally, finally stepping onto the WRC3 podium as second of the category. The good performance of private ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews in WRC3 was completed by Fabrizio Zaldivar/Carlos del Barrio (PAR/ESP) in fourth and Emilio Fernández/Ruben Garcia (CHL/ARG) in fifth. Enrico Brazzoli/Danilo Fappani (ITA/ITA) in another private ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo finished fifth in WRC2.
Next up on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar is one of the all-time classics – the Safari Rally Kenya (24 – 27 June 2021). The epic East African event makes a WRC comeback after nearly 20 years. After the start in the country’s capital Nairobi the teams head to the gruelling gravel stages of the Rift Valley.
Result Rally Italia Sardegna (WRC2)
1. Huttunen/ Lukka (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 R5, +3:28:58.1 hrs.
2. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, +7.5 sec.
3. Bulacia/Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:02.9 min.
4. Prokop/Jůrka (CZE/CZE), Ford Fiesta Rally2, +7:53.4 min.
5. Brazzoli/Fappani (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +28:51.5 min.
Championship Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 5 rounds)
1. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 68 points
2. Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, 66 points
3. Marco Bulacia (BOL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 63 points
Result Rally Italia Sardegna (WRC3)
1. Rossel/Coria (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 3:30:04.1 hrs.
2. Lopéz/Vallejo (ESP/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +26.0 sec.
3. Solans/Sanjuan (ESP/ESP), Citroën C3 Rally2, +48.6 sec.
4. Zaldivar/Del Barrio (PAR/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +4:46.4 min.
5. Fernández/Garcia (CHL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +6:35.7 min.
8. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +10:29.9 min.
Championship Standings WRC3/Drivers (after 5 rounds)
1. Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 98 points
2. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 64 points
3. Nicolas Ciamin (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 57 points
Number of the rally: 4.9
Despite rolling their ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo in stage 18, Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG) somehow managed to lose not more 4.9 seconds to the fastest WRC2 time.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox 26 – 28 February
Rally Croatia 22 – 25 April
Vodafone Rally Portugal 20 – 23 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 3 – 6 June
Safari Rally Kenya 24 – 27 June
Rally Estonia 15 – 18 July
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 13 – 15 August
Acropolis Rally Greece 9 – 12 September
Rally Finland 30 September – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
Rally Japan 11 –14 November