Hot on the heels of the Rally de Portugal comes Rally Italia Sardegna: another tough gravel event to test the FIA World Rally Championship contenders to their limits. And this one might just be even more demanding.
While Toyota duo Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans are separated by just two points at the top of the standings, the trip to Sardinia provides Hyundai with the chance to fight back in the title race and make good on the speed their drivers showed last time out.
As on every round in 2021, you can find out what the drivers are expecting ahead of the weekend with the exclusive preview show from Red Bull TV on Thursday. Then, catch the best of the action in the daily highlights shows: all available to watch on-demand at any time.
Sardinia: Why you should watch
The WRC has been visiting the Mediterranean island of Sardinia – with its stunning scenery and sunny weather – for the Italian round of the series ever since 2004. But this is no relaxing holiday: Narrow and technical roads lined by trees and rocks combined with intense heat make the rally an extreme challenge for drivers, cars and tyres.
The stages in Sardinia have a hard base which is exposed for the repeat pass as each car sweeps away the sandy surface. Normally, drivers might opt for major setup changes and a set of harder tyres to adapt to this change in conditions, but that’s not possible with the rally’s slightly unusual format where the same pair of stages will be run twice before the opportunity to return to service.
While Portugal has Fafe, Sardinia has Micky’s Jump: another iconic and stratospheric leap that’s hugely popular with the fans. It forms part of the Monte Lerno test, one of many classic stages that remains on the itinerary even as the service park switches back from Alghero in the west to Olbia in the east for the first time since 2013. The rally’s finale on Sunday has a new look, however, in the island’s northernmost tip.
Victory in Portugal brought Elfyn Evans (pictured below) to within two points of team-mate Sébastien Ogier at the head of the championship. In fact, they would have been tied but for Ogier taking as many points as he could in the Power Stage: a strategy that’s served him well over the years. It does mean he opens the road again on Friday in Sardinia, though, and that gives his rivals another opportunity to chase him down.
Hyundai arrives in Sardinia with the tag of favourite, having won there in four of the last five years, and each of the last three. Dani Sordo is aiming for a hat-trick of consecutive wins on the island and is again equipped with a good road position, while team-mates Thierry Neuville (2016 and 2018) and Ott Tänak (2017) are the next most-recent winners.
Tune in with Red Bull TV – wherever you’re online
Once more, Red Bull TV will be broadcasting from the heart of the action in Sardinia, starting before the competition even gets underway with the exclusive preview show on Thursday.
New for the 2021 season, this combines driver interviews with a look ahead at what is to come over the weekend. Daily highlights featuring the best of the action will then be available at the end of each day between Friday and Sunday.
Every broadcast can be viewed on-demand at any time, wherever you’re connected on redbull.tv or via the app.
Red Bull TV Broadcast Schedule: Rally Italia Sardegna
Preview show: Thursday 3 June, 19:00 local time (CEST)
Highlights show: Friday 4 June, 22:00 local time (CEST)
Highlights show: Saturday 5 June, 22:00 local time (CEST)
Highlights show: Sunday 6 June, 22:00 local time (CEST)Watch Red Bull TV on all your devices, wherever you’re connected