By Pontus Lindroos
The 68th edition of the world famous Rallye Sanremo has seen a bumper entry of more than 200 cars taking part in one of the biggest rallies in Europe this year, a rally with a long running history, and that this year promises to be a good event despite having only eight stages, totalling 88 kilometres in total.
Credit: Rallye Sanremo
The Rallye Sanremo will take place as usual around the iconic Città di Sanremo in the Liguarian coastal part of Italy and this year the event will feature two days of rallying on asphalt between 10/11 April. The rally will open up with the classic two kilometre stage of Bajardo on Saturday 10 April and it will be the only stage running that day.
The remaining seven stages will take place on Sunday, with San Bartolomeo, Colle D’Oggia and Vignai being run twice that day and rounds-up with the infamous Cesio – Carpasio stage later in the evening where we will see the rally winner being crowned.
Credit: Hyundai Motorsport
For this edition of the Rallye Sanremo, there are plenty of well-known rally drivers taking part from across the globe. In the main category of R5 / Rally2 cars there are a total of 47 drivers entered with the local drivers of Giandomenico Basso, Fabio Andolfi, Andrea Crugnola, Marco Pollara och Simone Campedelli headlining the list.
But, they will have plenty of company this time as many world famous names such as Oliver Solberg, Marco Bulacia Wilkinson, Craig Breen, Chris Ingram, Stephane Lefebvre, Eerik Pietarinen, Erik Cais, Filip Mares and Quentin Gilbert are there to give the local stars a run for their money, despite many of them being there for training purposes for the upcoming FIA World Rally Championship event in Croatia in a few weeks time.
Outside the main competition, there are a total of five WRC spec cars entered where the Hyundai Motorsport team will field two i20 WRC cars for their star line-up of Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak. The other Hyundai WRC team of 2C Competition are also entered with two cars for Pierre-Louis Loubet and Massimo “Pedro” Pedretti. The only non-Hyundai car will be driven by the Swiss driver Paolo Vallivero, who is entered in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
Credit: FIA ERC
There will also be an Italian debut of the all-new Ford Fiesta Rally3, where the reigning Junior WRC champion Tom Kristensson will be taking the control of the car, competing for M-Sport. There are also a long line of Rally4, R2 and Group N drivers in the field included in most of the local single-make cups.
Sanremo Rally Storico will also be held alongside the main event and it will be the start of the season for the FIA European Historic Rally Championship, the historical classes will be using more stages, a total of 14 with 130 kilometres of stages and over 30 cars entered.
About 20 drivers are entered for the main ERC classes where the local star Luigi “Lucky” Battistolli in Lancia Delta Integrale headlining the field together with his compariot Lucio Da Zanche in a Porsche 911. Among the other well-known drivers entered are Anders Johnsen in a Porsche, Karl Wagner with a Porsche, Andrea “Zippo” Zivian with an Audi, Daniel Alonso Villarón with a Ford Sierra and making the return to the series is the Porsche driver Paolo Pasutti.