The Rally Italia Sardegna is a gravel event taking place over 19 special stages and 312 kilometres of competitive distance all across the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia.
With the ŠKODA FABIA R5 winning every round of the WRC2 championship so far this season, all eyes will be on the two FABIA R5 drivers entered in this round. So, alongside the ŠKODA Motorsport car of Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler, that means there is a real opportunity for Ole Christian Veiby and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen.
The Printsport Oy driver has made a strong start in what is an important season for him. He is now more closely involved with ŠKODA Motorsport following his entry into the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with a FABIA R5 for the ŠKODA MRF team.
20-year old Veiby secured his first victory in the APRC just two weeks ago at the National Capital Rally in Canberra, Australia, after finishing second overall in the opening round of the season, the International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand, and he looks likely to give reigning champion and ŠKODA MRF teammate Gaurav Gill a run for his money this year.
In February, at the Numedalsrally he has also claimed the first victory in his home series, the Norwegian Rally Championship, which - along with his first WRC2 podium finish at the Rally Sweden and a fifth place at the Tour de Corse - sees him coming into this rally on the crest of a wave.
Veiby has finished every one of his six WRC2 events so far and despite clocking up the air miles already this year thanks to his APRC adventure, hopes are high that he can continue his fine form and secure more good results in his FABIA R5.
Alongside Veiby and Kopecký, there will be two more FABIA R5s on the starting line, but none are entered in the WRC2 standings.
Italian Giuseppe Dettori, who will be partnered by co-driver Carlo Pisano, finished third in class in a FABIA S2000 at the Rally Italia Sardegna back in 2012 and has won his only other rally in a FABIA R5, this year's Rally dei Nuraghi e del Vermentino - Terra in Italy. His compatriots Giovanni Bitti / Paolo Cottu will be making their debut drive in a FABIA R5 at this event.
For a long time Dutchman Kees Burger has been taking part mainly in the Finnish championship, this is his first rally outside Finland since the Rally de Portugal 2015 and only his fifth event in a FABIA R5. He will be partnered by Finnish co-driver Mikko Lukka.
As ever, the best wishes of all at ŠKODA Motorsport go out to everyone competing in a FABIA R5 and we will be keeping a keen eye on their progress throughout the weekend.