› Former WRC2 champion Pierre-Louis Loubet (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) needs a top result at the FIA World Rally Championship’s sixth round to restart his 2024 campaign
› After finishing second and third respectively at Rally Portugal, Josh McErlean/James Fulton and Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi (both Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) want to score again
› WRC2 Challenger title hopefuls Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) chase their second category victory of the season

Mladá Boleslav, 28. May 2024 – When the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) goes into its sixth round with the Rally Italia Sardegna (30 May-2 June 2024), several Škoda crews again fight for podium positions in WRC2 category. High on the list are Josh McErlean/James Fulton from Ireland and Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi, who stood on the WRC2 podium of the recent Rally Portugal. Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland finished the Safari Rally Kenya in the third WRC2 position and aim for their second victory in the WRC2 Challenger classification. Pierre-Louis Loubet, the 2019 WRC2 champion from France, and co-driver Loris Pascaud chase a top result to turn around a so far difficult season.

With 41 entries, among them 22 Škoda Fabia in Rally2 specification, the fight for WRC2 victory on the rough gravel stages of Sardinia will ask for strong nerves. That counts especially for Pierre-Louis Loubet, the 2019 WRC2 champion. Having left the last WRC2 event with zero points, he needs a strong result to re-ignite his championship campaign. “Rally Portugal was for sure not the start into the season I wanted. But I am confident that I can do better in Sardinia and I have good memories of this event. In 2019, I won WRC2 at the wheel of a Škoda Fabia,” Loubet says, who shares a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team Toksport WRT with co-driver Loris Pascaud.

In contrast, two other Škoda crews travel to the Mediterranean island with the tailwind of a strong Rally Portugal result. Josh McErlean/James Fulton from Ireland (Toksport WRT) and Finns Lauri Joona/Janni Hussi (TGS Worldwide) climbed the podium as second and third respectively. Another Škoda crew with already one 2024 podium position in the pocket are Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland. Driving a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team RaceSeven, they finished Safari Rally Kenya third in WRC2, at the same time winning the WRC2 Challenger classification. They have set sight on more of these trophies.

In the WRC Masters Cup classification, which is reserved for drivers over 50 years of age, two old rivals clash again. Overall leaders and local heroes Mauro Miele/Luca Beltrame of team DreamOne Racing meet former FIA European Rally Champion Armin Kremer from Germany, who shares his Team Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 again with daughter Ella.

As competitors are allowed to score WRC2 points on not more than seven events, some of the Škoda crews entered into Rally Portugal will not be listed in the WRC2 results. One of them is current second overall, Oliver Solberg. Together with British co-driver Elliott Edmondson he only competes for RC2 class honours. “The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 fits perfectly to these gravel stages. My goal is to finish as high as possible and to gain as much experience as possible without thinking about the championship,” the 22-year-old Swede explains. Gus Greensmith, WRC2 winner at Safari Rally Kenya and Solberg’s teammate at Toksport WRT, skips the Italian championship round altogether.

Rally Italia Sardegna features 16 special stages covering 266.12 kilometres. They are packed into three legs with the longest on Saturday offering eight stages totalling 149 kilometres. The service park is built up in the historic town of Alghero, situated on the west coast of Sardinia.

Did you know, that…

…Italy hosted a round of the FIA World Rally Championship already in its inaugural season 1973, originally the Sanremo Rally run in the Tuscany and Liguria regions?

…Michèle Mouton and co-driver Fabrizia Pons became the first – and until today only – women to win a WRC round when they finished first at the 1981 Sanremo Rally?

…in 2004 the WRC event moved from the mainland to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia?

…the iconic stage “Monte Lerno” of Rally Italia Sardegna features the spectacular “Micky’s jump”, comparable only to the famous Fafe crest of Rally Portugal?

Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 5 of 13 events)
1 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 53 points
2 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 43 points
3 Nikolay Gryazin (BUL), Citroën, 40 points

Standings WRC2/Teams (after 5 of 13 events)
1 DG Sport Competition, Citroën, 129 points
2 Toksport WRT, Škoda, 70 points
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG, Toyota, 61 points

Standings WRC Masters Cup (after 5 of 13 events)
1 Mauro Miele (ITA), Škoda, 43 points
2 Ricardo Triviño (MEX), Škoda, 33 points
3 Michał Sołowow (POL), Škoda, 25 points

2024 FIA World Rally Championship

Rallye Monte-Carlo  25-28 January
Rally Sweden 15-18 February
Safari Rally Kenya  28-31 March
Croatia Rally 18-21 April
Rally de Portugal 9-12 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 30 May-2 June
Rally Poland 27-30 June
Rally Latvia 18-21 July
Rally Finland 1-4 August
Acropolis Rally Greece 5-8 September
Rally Chile 26-29 September
Central European Rally (CZE/AUT/DEU) 31 October – 3 November
Rally Japan  21-24 November