Accurate pace notes and the right tyre choice will be crucial to Ford Rallye Sport driver Markko Martin’s chances of success at this weekend’s inaugural Rally Sardinia, the Estonian says.

Accurate pace notes and the right tyre choice will be crucial to Ford Rallye Sport driver Markko Martin’s chances of success at this weekend’s inaugural Rally Sardinia, the Estonian says.


Martin, like all his rivals, will be tackling the stages in Sardinia for the first time – Italy’s World Rally Championship round has been switched from the asphalt of the area around San Remo to loose surface stages on the Mediterranean island, almost all of which have never been used for rallying before.


"The stages will be new to everyone,” said Martin. “In this situation it is important to work hard during the recce. We are only allowed to practice the roads twice before the rally so it is crucial to make sure that the pace notes are as accurate as possible. Two rallies ago in Japan, which was another new event, I struggled with my notes for the first two legs. I don't want to repeat that.


"It's always difficult the first time you drive competitively over roads that are unknown. Because speeds during the recce are restricted, it's only at full rally pace that a driver really finds all the tricky places. It's good to have the opportunity to drive a new rally and from what I hear the roads have a bit of everything, so it will be a good challenge," the Ford Focus RS WRC 04 driver said.


Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson said teams would find it difficult to make the right tyre choice, due to the incredibly wide variety of gravel stage surfaces on the new event.


“I think it could be an event with more variation than any other rally in the world championship,” said Wilson. “The nature of the roads varies considerably, and there is a wide selection of surfaces. Our tyre engineer, George Black, has been over there to drive through the stages to obtain the data for making the tyre nominations. His feedback is that some of the roads are as rough as Kenya, some are as smooth as Finland and a high percentage are quite sandy. I think it’s going to be an interesting event.”