TOKYO, May 26, 2023 – (JCN Newswire) – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team will take on one of the toughest challenges of the season at Rally Italia Sardegna on June 1-4, looking to maintain its recent strong momentum.
The team has won four out of five rallies contested so far in 2023 with the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID, and leads the manufacturers’ championship by 32 points. After taking his first win of the year last time out in Portugal, defending champion Kalle Rovanpera tops the drivers’ standings by 17 points, with Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans tied on points in third place: Ogier resumes his part-season programme on an event he has won four times before, with Takamoto Katsuta also entered in a fourth car supported by the TGR WRC Challenge Program.
The stages on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia have a reputation as being among the most testing gravel tracks in the entire championship. They are fairly fast but often narrow and lined with bushes, trees and rocks, leaving little margin for error. The sandy surface is swept away by each passing car to expose the rocky and abrasive base: this can combine with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees centigrade to punish cars and tyres.
For this year, the service park moves back from Alghero to Olbia on the island’s northeast coast and the city’s mixed-surface super special stage will again begin the rally on Thursday evening. Friday’s route is headlined by the famous Monte Lerno stage which has more than doubled in length to 49.9 kilometres. This is preceded by two shorter stages – Tantariles (last run in 2004) and Terranova – to form a loop of three tests to be repeated after midday service in Olbia. Saturday is almost as long in terms of competitive distance with four stages run twice, while Sunday’s route is the same as in 2021 with a pair of repeated stages on the island’s northernmost tip.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wrc/release/2023/rd06-preview/.
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