Martin focuses on recce

Ford's number one driver Markko Martin says that efficient use of recce time will be crucial to success in this weekend's Rally Italia Sardinia, the third new event to be introduced the World Rally Championship this year

Martin focuses on recce

In a bid to reduce the number of asphalt rallies in the WRC Italy's event has been moved from the roads around Sanremo to Sardinia, where new, loose-surface stages on military land near Porto Cervo will be used. Martin says that getting a handle on the new roads will be vital and concedes that he didn't do that as well as he should have done on the last new rally he tackled.

"The stages will be new to everyone so that ensures that nobody has the advantage of greater experience," said the 28-year-old Estonian. "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."

"Obviously it's always more 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," he continued.

Martin's relatively inexperienced team mate Francois Duval likes new events because on these, he feels he is on more of an even footing with the old hands.

"I have little experience of some events in a World Rally Car compared to most of my rivals," explained the 23-year-old. "They know the stages and have perfect pace notes while I am still improving mine. Sardinia will be different. All the drivers will arrive on the island at exactly the same level and, if we prepare properly, then we can be just as competitive as anyone else."

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