2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship

The 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship heads to the Italian island of Sardinia for round three, Rally d'Italia Sardegna, entering the second half of this year's championship.

The rally is the second and final gravel event of the season in FIA Junior WRC as the championship battle begins to tighten for the future stars of the FIA World Rally Championship. Martins Sesks leads the championship with 47 points following an assertive victory on Rally Estonia. Sami Pajari took a career best second in Estonia and ate into Sesks - points advantage by taking eight stage wins on the rally - the most of any FIA Junior WRC driver in Estonia. Rally Sweden winner and 2019 Rookie Award winner, Tom Kristensson, sits third with 29 points. He had his worst result to date in Estonia, taking only one stage win point and retired from the rally early on.

The trio will resume battle on the Italian gravel in their EcoBoost-powered M Sport Fiesta Rally4 cars. It is Pajari's first time in Sardinia with Sesks and Kristensson experiencing the rough Italian roads for the first time in 2019.

Usually, the rally can be summarised in three words: rough, hot and dusty. 2020 had better ideas though, following a reshuffled calendar, the event finds itself in October with much cooler temperatures ushering in a different challenge with higher wind speeds bringing very changeable and unpredictable weather.

The challenge of Rally d'Italia Sardegna is usually characterised by a continuously developing surface as the soft and sandy top surface covers a very hard and immovable bedrock. Should the heavens open the loose top surface will develop into a momentum killing, sludgy buildup pushed to either side of the road revealing a very slippery hard surface underneath.

Careful attention will be needed when it comes to writing pace notes with crews having to work hard when considering how corner speeds, braking points and grip levels will change with weather.

The chances of punctures are usually significantly higher on the island of Sardinia thanks to the unforgiving rocks that line its stages. Tyre changes are a simple but essential practice for crews and those well prepared could reap the rewards as rally could be won or lost on a simple tyre change.

The Pirelli tyres available for crews to choose form will be between 20 Scorpion K4 (hard) and 6 Scorpion K6 (soft) with a maximum of use of 20 tyres including shakedown. Tyre choice could prove pivotal depending on how stage conditions develop and will be at the forefront of each crew's mind should rain clouds appear.

6th October, 2020