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WRC NEWS 

Rally Italy to stay in Sardinia despite calls to return to mainland

Rally Italy organisers have defied the FIA's calls to return to the mainland and intend to keep the event on the island of Sardinia next season.

Last week's event shifted its base from Olbia to Alghero and, while that was considered an improvement, there were still criticisms of the rally.

Running an opening stage in Cagliari at 21:00 on Thursday night meant the crews did not get to bed until after midnight, having completed 0.8 miles of competition.

There were those who did not even get to compete, however, after the stage was cancelled due to high spectator numbers.

How Rally Italy got it wrong

Rally Italy general manager Antonio Turitto told AUTOSPORT: "When we decided to run in Cagliari, we didn't expect more than 10,000 fans.

"But then on the night we get 40,000 - if you tell me this when we decide to go then I say you are crazy. We didn't expect them."

Long road sections out to the two Saturday stages were also unpopular and led to the drivers spending six hours waiting to go into day-two controls due to the legal requirement of timing liaison sections at just 31mph.

Citroen's Kris Meeke was in favour of a mainland move. The Northern Irishman said: "For me, this is a nice rally, but the organisation's just not really up to it.

"It should go back to Sanremo and Tuscany, where it could be the most incredible event."

Turitto said the move was not possible.

"I live in Sanremo and I would like to work on the rally there," he said, "but there is not enough room in the town."

The FIA's WRC manager Michele Mouton said: "The FIA is always pushing for events to go back to the mainland, that is our preference. Sanremo already has a rally, so it must have some room..."

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