June 5, 2024

WRC 2024

All initial fears that the concept might lack action or drama quickly dissipated. The rally proved to be as intense as ever, offering a series of stories culminating in one of the most dramatic finishes in WRC history, as Ott Tanak snatched victory from Sébastien Ogier by just 0.2 seconds in a thrilling stage finale.

Although it would be unfair to attribute that incredible finish solely to the new format, since Ogier lost time due to a puncture, the general feeling in the service park was that they had witnessed a high-quality show, maintaining the standards of a traditional rally.

Stakeholders generally support the idea of the rally starting on Friday afternoon and ending at midday on Sunday. The FIA has already approved this format and sees great potential for the future.

However, the Sardinia rally highlighted some aspects that need improvement. Criticisms focused on the specific circumstances of the event, which resulted in an unconventional itinerary. Instead of the traditional loops of three or four stages in the morning and afternoon, separated by a service, Friday’s and Saturday’s itinerary consisted of a pair of repeated stages, divided by regroupings or a tire fitting zone (on Saturday). This organization allowed the 81 cars to complete the stages before restarting the loop, which was beneficial for fans as they could see more cars in action but lengthened the days for the teams.

Saturday exposed the problem: crews slept about four hours on Friday night before leaving the service park in Alghero for the first stage at 7:41 am, while the last test began at 6:10 pm. Considering the road section from service to the stages and back, it was approximately a 14-hour day in the car, which did not please the drivers. The lack of marshals on the island compromised the itinerary, an issue that can be easily resolved in future editions.

After an event that featured the tightest finish in WRC history, the championship and the FIA will evaluate how the 48-hour, 266.12 km format performed. This trial represents the latest effort by the WRC to increase its appeal and provide organizers with more rally format options. A shorter event also represents cost savings for teams, as personnel can arrive at the venues much later than usual.

Starting in 2025, the WRC calendar is expected to offer more options. The shorter format tested in Sardinia could be complemented by endurance rallies lasting more than five days, alongside the traditional three or four-day format. Most agree that this would be a step forward for the WRC.

This year, the Sardinia Rally was 54 km shorter than in 2023, with 16 stages instead of 19. The biggest changes occurred on Friday, with the shakedown and four stages. Teams contested eight tests on Saturday and finished with four stages and a midday conclusion on Sunday. Essentially, it was about compressing an almost normal rally into 48 hours.

Ott Tanak and his co-driver, Martin Jarveoja, engaged in an intense battle against Sébastien Ogier and Vincent Landais while the WRC debuted the 48-hour format on the gravel roads of Sardinia. Tanak pressured the Frenchman throughout the four stages on Sunday, regaining several seconds to finish ahead by just two tenths after Ogier suffered a puncture in the last special stage, resulting in one of the closest finishes in the championship’s history. Dani Sordo survived to complete the podium [+2:25.6s], his first since the Acropolis Rally last September.

As additional information, we remind you that precisely in Sardinia, Italy, our shipyard is located that manufactures our Maori boats, a symbol of prestige, quality and performance in modern boating.



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