Route Preview: Rally Italia Sardegna 2023

Rally Italia Sardegna celebrates its 20th occurence in WRC with a new route including a 50 km version of Monte Lerno. The base is again in Olbia, on the East coast. The shakedown and Sunday stages are familiar from 2021 while the super special is the same as last year. Other than that, all stages have some changes with one stage not driven since the first WRC edition – 19 years ago! The main characteristic of the rally is still the narrowness of the technical roads but this year there’s more Safari-style roughness than before.

Cover image by Hyundai Motorsport (C)
Maps @

Video preview


The shakedown of Loiri Porto San Paolo is the same as 2021. It’s a quite weird shakedown for having so much tarmac sections, and also being much more straightforwardly fast than most of the rally. Thus it doesn’t represent the rally so much, although almost all stages have short tarmac sections.

The start is on a narrow tarmac road, turning soon into gravel. It’s quite fast with a few tricky corners. At 0.7 km the stage returns onto a narrow and broken tarmac with gravel on the sides, often pulled onto the road. A tight corner at 1.7 km makes the stage again gravel-surfaced and the road wider, still quite fast. Just before the finish there’s a junction turn onto a very narrow tarmac road.

SSS1 Olbia – Cabu Abbas is the same as last year. It is a mix of a street stage and a rallycross type of gravel super special with big jumps. It’s one of the coolest super specials of the whole season – albeit the dreadful doughnut in the middle!


Friday contains as much as 138 km of stages, which is a bit more than last year – plenty of road cleaning. The stages are situated South-West from Olbia.

Also be sure to follow the weather forecast as it could be very rainy, which would change the start position advantage around!

SS2+5 Tantariles has featured in the rally only once, when it was the first stage of the first edition of WRC Rally Italia Sardinia in 2004, when the stage was longer and also covered this year’s Terranova stage, leaving the latter half completely new – not that (m)any current drivers did the event in 2004!

(for some reason WRC has age restriction on their old highlights but this has some footage of Tantariles in 2004)

Tantariles resembles surprisingly much Safari Rally. The road is narrow, moderately rough and bumpy. The character is angular with fast passages but occasional tight corners – more frequently on the first half of the stage, with a sinuous uphill and downhill. Further down the stage there’s also some bumps and dips requiring slowing down – as well as two river crossings.

SS3+6 Terranova is now in a shorter format with just the first 5.9 km of last year’s stage and then a new ending – although it has been used in the rally, but not after 2014. Curiously, this stage also resembles Safari Rally just like Tantariles!

The beginning is angular with tight corners every few hundred metres of fast passages. A short tarmac section features at 2.3 km, leading into a big jump back onto gravel.

The new ending – which was driven partly in 2014 and almost in its entirety in 2013 – makes the road a bit narrower, starting with a sinuous uphill and proceeding faster. The final 800 m are on a rough, rocky, bumpy road with a twisty steep downhill.

SS4+7 Monte Lerno – Sa Conchedda is what everybody is probably looking forward into in the rally for its monstrous 49.9 km length which is more than the two other stages together! Obviously the stage contains many rhythm and surface changes from fast to slow, wide to narrow and smooth to rough. To help with digesting the monstrosity of the stage I’ve split it into six sections.

I: New Safari style beginning

The first 2.4 km of the stage are completely new, and just like the new sections on the two previous stages, it’s also narrow and rough like Safari! It’s first fast, then more sinuous, ending into a hairpin junction.

II: Monti di Ala – technical and fast

The Safari roughness ends as we join last year’s Monti di Ala route for almost 13 km. First up is a narrow and quite technical road which becomes paved for a short bit at 4 km. The next two roads are quite wide and quite fast although technicality increases at 14.3 km.

A very narrow, rough and technical road is joined at 15.4 km, first half of which has been driven only in 2015, but as a whole never in this direction.

III: Monte Lerno – technical and rough

2019’s Monte Lerno route is joined at 16.6 km, first with a straight link on a medium wide and smooth road, then onto a very small, rough and technical road, with a tricky uphill hairpin. The road changes into a wider and smoother one at 19 km but remains technical. Micky’s Jump also features here, and this bit was also driven last year on the Monte Lerno stage. At 24.6 km – almost at midpoint – the stage turns onto a technical and rough small road section which has been only driven on the 2015 Monte Lerno stage but in the opposite direction.

IV: Monti di Ala forest – technical and fast

Speed increases at 28.2 km on a road which last featured on the 2019 Monti di Ala stage, again in the opposite direction. This section is cut with a loop of small roads never driven before in the rally, alhough it’s also mostly fast apart from a couple of tighter corners. At 33 km the stage returns onto the Monti di Ala route (still in the opposite direction) on a fast-angular-technical section.

At 35.2 km the stage turns onto route last used on the 2016 Monti di Ala route. It’s now bumpy, a bit wider, quite fast and medium technical. A river crossing features at 36.6 km.

V: Monti di Ala wind park – very fast

The road becomes smoother, slightly wider and very fast at 38.4 km at the open area of the wind farm, punctuated only be seldom tighter corners. At 41.6 km we join the route of Monti di Ala 2021, using it now in the same direction, but proceeding further beyond its finish line, employing a piece of road never used before. At 46.7 km the surface becomes paved.

VI: Monti di Ala super special

Finally the stage concludes at 47.7 km with the 2022 Monti di Ala beginning on gravel, in the opposite direction. It involves a straight, a sandy technical passage and finally a super special type twisty spectator arena.

49.9 km.

It’s quite a stage!


The Saturday stages form a clock-wise half circle around Olbia. The amount of stage mileage is just slightly less than on Friday, 135 km.

SS8+12 Coiluna – Loelle has been driven in a form or another in every instance of the Sardinian WRC event, changing annually. This year’s route is closer to the 2020/2021 format with a bit borrowed from 2022 as well. This stage is very familiar for featuring for years as the Saturday TV stage.

The start of the stage is fast-flowing with just a handful of tighter corners – but also a big jump – on the way. There’s also some very narrow and/or rough passages. Already at 3 km the stage turns onto smaller and more technical roads.

The stage returns onto the main road at 8.8 km and is fast for a while before taking another small road loop, which was introduced in 2019. This very narrow section is remembered for Kalle Rovanperä’s crash into the trees in 2020.

After that there’s the familiar wide section on a rallycross track including a water splash and a big jump.

Then the stage is again fast on the main road with one junction chicane and a 90° junction turn just before the finish line.

SS9+13 Su Filigosu is essentially a mix of last year’s Monte Lerno and 2021’s Filigosu – Sa Conhcedda, the beginning from the former and ending from the latter – but both in the opposite direction.

In this form, the stage also shares almost all of the last 15 km with 2019’s Monte Lerno stage in the same direction.

The beginning of the stage is the same as last year’s Monte Lerno ending – a medium wide road, climbing up steeply and sinuously. At 1.5 km the stage changes onto narrower roads with medium pace and medium technicality apart from some junction turns. At 4.4 km the road becomes a bit wider but retains the same pace.

A fast passage at 7.7 km leads into a junction which makes the road wider for a short while before a two-kilometre tarmac section begins and the technicality increases.

At 14.7 km the stage turns onto a narrower and softer road but again the character mostly remains – technical but not sinuous. Finally the stage concludes on a river crossing and a hairpin left (on the video they turn right).

SS10+14 Erula – Tula has featured in the rally since 2016, changing almost every year. This year’s version is closest to 2019 with slight changes.

Erula – Tula 2023 (red) and 2019 (green)

In this format the stage is very slow, twisty and technical, likely one of the slowest non-super special gravel stages of the season. It’s also the longest stage of Saturday with 22.2 km of length but nothing compared to 49.9 km of Monte Lerno!

The start of the stage is now the same as the ending last year in the opposite direction. Basically it is all narrow and technical apart from a fast passage on concrete at 1.6 km. A small road section not used since 2020 contains the hairpin where Jari-Matti Latvala rolled in 2019, precisely at 3.6 km.

At 5.5 km there’s a very fast and bumpy section on the way to the wind farm .

The wind farm service roads offer lots of junction turns and small surface changes from concrete to smooth gravel to very rough tracks. It’s technical but more angular than throughly twisty.

The wind farm area is exited at 13.4 km and a very narrow, sinously technical and rough downhill section begins. Around 18 km there’s also narrow bridges with wooden railings. This longer version of the ending hasn’t been used since 2019.

SS11+15 Tempio Pausania has featured three times in the same format, being a very slow, narrow and technical stage. Now its route has changed a bit, with the ending being same as the start of S. Bachisio of 2005 but in the opposite direction. It’s also similar to the route that was used in the Costa Smeralda ERC event in the 80’s. The stage is now shorter but there’s still many rhythm changes. The corner where Esapekka Lappi crashed out last year while leading is not now included in the stage.

The start is on gravel, tarmac and concrete with two junction turns, exiting a small town before switching onto a narrow gravel road after 600 m. It’s technical but moderately fast apart from a descending hairpin sequence at 1.3 km. Thierry Neuville rolled last year on this stage at 2.6 km.

At 3.9 km the stage deviates onto a very small and sinuous road, taking a shortcut closer to the finish of last year’s stage but proceeding in the opposite direction, with similar surface and rhythm. A very tricky hairpin-gate-junction-combination appears at 5.8 km, returning onto the first gravel road of the stage with similar characteristics.

UPDATE a week before the rally: This stage was shortened: a very small and technical section as well as the tricky double gate hairpin was left out. Now the route just deviates at 3.9 km, going first parallel to last year’s route, then joining last year’s route in the opposite direction at 5 km, but most likely this doesn’t result in a rhythm change – the road will be medium fast but narrow and thus technical. Last year’s route in the opposite direction is used until 8 km. This is where the stage deviates onto a new section – sinuous but slightly wider and smoother, making now the first proper rhythm change of the stage after the start in the park.


The Sunday stages are the same as 2021, in the North edge of the island. Both stages have quite extensive tarmac sections as well as narrow and tricky sections.

SS16+18 Arzachena – Braniatogghiu was the fastest stage of the 2021 rally with 106 km/h of average speed. It has featured in the rally already in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as well as ERC Costa Smeralda, with a different format, sharing only the middle part.

The beginning is medium wide, smooth and angular. It gets narrow and technical at 3 km but 600 m later there’s a faster tarmac section with jumps. A wider and very fast road is joined at 4.8 km. It’s also paved for the first 1.3 km. The gravel surface is smooth and there are jumps. The final road at 11.2 km is narrower, first sinuously technical and then straightforwardly fast with also some technical and narrow bits thrown in.

SS17+19 Sardegna featured in 2021 under the title Aglientu – Santa Teresa but not before that, although the ending has been used in ERC Costa Smeralda. It’s also the shortest proper stage of the rally with 7.8 km of length, but still packs in three tarmac sections and many kinds of gravel roads.

The stage starts on a quite wide and fast gravel road but the rhythm changes at 1.5 km with a very narrow, rough, bumpy and technical section followed by a narrow and technical tarmac section. The stage returns onto gravel at 2.9 km on a Safari style quite fast but bumpy, narrow and rough track with a river crossing at 3.5 km where the road also becomes more sinuous. Tarmac appears again at 4.5 km and the road widens at 5 km, before proceeding again onto gravel, for a quite wide and angular section. Finally the stage concludes with a turn onto a wide tarmac road.

UPDATED 30.5.2023, added information about shortened SS11+15

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