“I'm quite comfortable with what we've achieved in the previous rounds of the IRC. We've remained in our comfort zone and not really stuck our neck out, but now is the time to start doing so if we want to win a rally. We need to push that little extra bit to start winning rallies and maintain our challenge in the series.
“We've got some bankers in the form of three podiums and we'd like to think that come the time we're looking at our best seven results to count, our sixth place finish in Monte Carlo will be a dropped score. We have three good scores in our back pocket thanks to our podiums in Brazil, Argentina and Gran Canarias, so it's a great position to build from.”
Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is the home event for Skoda UK Motorsport team manager Pierfrancesco Zanchi and his Oleggio Castello-based squad. He has done the event once as a driver (lying second in Gp N to Gigi Galli in 2004 before breaking the steering rack) and three times (2006-'08) as a team principal – so knows the event extremely well.
There is one change to the Skoda UK Motorsport team line-up in Sardinia. Chief mechanic David Pelliccoili made a commitment to work at the Le Mans 24 Hour race before the IRC programme was confirmed, so in his absence he will be replaced by Marco Raele, who worked on Guy's Fabia S2000 on Rallye Monte Carlo.
“Rally d'Italia-Sardegna is a special event for everyone involved in this project and we really want to do well,” Zanchi added. “We have a good history of competing on the island, and whilst many of the stages are new to us all, we have a very good feeling. It is going to be a tough event and faster this year than before, but we have prepared very well and hope to fight for another place on the podium.”