Rallying or Rally Racing is a form of point-to-point racing where drivers navigate their way between different sets of points along a circuit. Highly modified production cars are used for Rally Racing and these are generally constructed with particular terrain in mind. For example, cars used in Desert rallies need to be able to cope with much different road and terrain conditions compared to those faced by Winter rallies. Rally racing tracks are usually made up of closed off public roads or off-road areas, which means that a rally car can (and usually does) encounter a wide variety of terrain.
Entrants in Rallies are permitted to scout the track before the race and the co-driver (or navigator) uses this information to his team’s best advantage. The co-driver makes use of “pace notes” which are read aloud over an intercom system in the car to the driver in order to assist him in completing each stage of the rally as fast as possible. The winner of the rally is usually the team with the lowest total elapsed time for the entire event.
Rally cars are unusual in that they must be able to travel ordinary roads and therefore must conform to the road regulations of the host country. This is necessary because often the entrants must drive in un-timed stages from one timed course to another. Rallying has evolved considerably from its humble origins in the early years of the 20th century, and today rallying is immensely popular around the world, especially in Europe. Some sources estimate that Rally Racing ranks second in popularity to Formula One racing. Manufacturers and fans around the globe support the World Rally Championship, and rally events take place in some of the world’s most inhospitable areas such as the Sahara Desert or Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle.
The annual Rally d’Italia Sardegna often attracts a lot of attention as it winds its way along the narrow, twisted mountain roads that surround the town of Porto Cervo. These sandy, bumpy roads provide the perfect track for rally races as they mercilessly challenge the driver’s skill and talent. In fact the Rally d’Italia Sardegna is so tough that is has earned a place in the World Rally Championship schedule.
The Rally d’Italia Sardegna replaced the asphalt roads of the Rallye Sanremo in the World Rally Championship schedule from 2004 and has proved to be a successful leg of the race ever since. The World Rally Championship takes place in 25 different countries each year, and the Rally d’Italia Sardegna forms a very important part of this massive global race which also features countries such as France, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Luxemburg, Romania, Turkey and Japan. There are 59 crews listed on the entry list for this year’s race and Italy is the sixth race in the championship schedule. The 2008 Rally d’Italia Sardegna will be taking place from the 15th to the 18th of May on the Liscia Ruja and will be broadcast live for racing fans around the world to view. The various drivers will be represented by a total of seven manufacturers, and racing fans can expect to see Citroen, Ford, Subaru, Suzuki, Renault, Mitsubishi and Rover.
Test racing for this great leg of the World Rally Championship is already underway and the results show that the main event should be a good one. Mikko Hirvonen is currently the World Rally Championship leader, and he and team-mate Jani Matti Latvala have already finished testing their Ford Focus vehicles for the race. Hirvonen is confident that they are well-prepared for the race and is looking forward to the Rally d’ Italia Sardegna. He noted that the Italian circuit is one of his favorite rallies and he’d like to finish first after claiming second place last year. Hirvonen is one of the most likely winners of this year’s Rally d’ Italia Sardegna. To find out who takes the trophy, however, you will just have to make sure that you either attend the race or stay glued to your television for a live-broadcast of the race.