Rally di Sardegna - Micky's jump
Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Rally di Sardegna – Il salto di Micky

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Well, if this was to be my first contact with a world rally, it couldn’t have been better. Special stage 15 and 17 of the Rally Italia Sardegna, on Saturday: the Monte Lerno di Pattada, 17.01 km long. Harsh, selective test. There is a jump, on Monte Lerno, at over 1,000 meters above sea level, now famous, and not only in Sardinian land: feared by the pilots and a destination of attraction for the expert and fiery public, which has populated it since the previous night, to secure the best seats with a lot of tribunette in tubes. Well, this jump, which was made in 2005 by a certain Michele Carta (hence the name of Micky’s Jump) at the request of the organizers, to create a “famous” and spectacular point of the then new Rally Italia Sardegna of the post “Sanremo” , has become an essential point for true lovers of world competition in Sardinia. We get there as privileged, on the helicopter made available to us by Toyota Gazoo racing Italy. The temperature, on the other hand, is African for everyone: over 37 degrees.

A thud in the heart. Because at that point you first hear the cars arrive, and then you see them jump like grasshoppers, touch underneath if they land badly, lose pieces, skid when landing, if the pilot does not calculate times and trajectory well. With the drivers forced to make a robust correction to be made immediately, to steer to the left and avoid the stone wall outside, which is always there, motionless, waiting. But there are also those who brake, to avoid trouble and to bring the car to the end of the entire test. In short, an old-style reference point, also due to the presence of a fully equipped public, with bread, salami and beer, as in the 80s. Always ready to applaud a courageous crew that wants to give a show, with suspensions that extend amazingly. A famous stretch in a race that is always hard and selective, made up of heavy dirt roads and strewn with stones (watch out for punctures, always possible), of narrow roads full of pitfalls, where no errors of any kind are allowed. And these Rally1 2022, the queens of the standings, in the hands of the official drivers of the main teams – the Toyota Gazoo Racing, the Hyundai World rally team and the M-Sport Ford World rally team – whiz at highway speeds over dirt, over jumps, in the strong descents towards the sea, with a lot of art on the part of those who lead and “sail” them. With the awareness that pushing hard even in a single stage is a bet with fate, very risky for the work of an entire team. A typical gamble of the aces, but which, in such a long championship, where Toyota has so far been acting like a hare, it will be necessary to calm down, given that Hyundai is not watching, as evidenced by the final victory in Sardinia by Ott Tänak and his i20 N, followed by Breen, in a Ford Puma, and by Dani Sordo (again Hyundai). Toyota in this race did not dominate as before, but they brought the leader, the Finnish 2000 class Kalle Rovanperä in fifth place and the Japanese Takamoto Katsuta in sixth, while Evans was classified 35th and Esapekka Lappi 37th, the latter out. off the road on Saturday, breaking a suspension, while he was going strong.

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Pace and self management. But what catches the eye of those who approach the environment, here in Sardinia, in addition to the acrobatic talent of the protagonists, is that one must know how to manage the car – of course, going reasonably fast – on roads that look like mule tracks, where there is often it is room for one car. And knowing how to manage the car, an ancient gift in road racing, this year has one more reason for being, offered by the adoption of the new hybrid system that is the same for all, which here in Sardinia has also been put to the test at high temperature. A way of introducing a green element in a racing car that runs on the road and that can / must travel some stretches of urban transfer in pure electric mode. A “package”, the hybrid one, housed behind the driver’s and navigator’s seats, which also involved the redesign of the cars: the chassis, in fact, is no longer made up of the standard body, but of a tubular structure reinforced on the sides, which allowed the two seats to move forward – with that of the navigator now raised, a fact that aroused some discontent among those concerned – and to better accommodate the hybrid system which includes: a 3.9 kWh battery pack that recharges when braking or to the column, a motor generator (MGU) that delivers 100 kW (136 HP) and 180 Nm of torque for a few seconds, the inverter and the control unit. Power that is added to that of the four-cylinder 1.6 turbo with direct injection, with over 400 HP, for a total of over 500 HP and 500 Nm. the engine mappings. But also through the right foot, because, when the extra power offered by the electric boost arrives, it is immediate and not very progressive, so you have to take this into account. In addition to hybrid power, the powertrain is powered by 100% sustainable fuel free of fossil fuels for the first time (the blend uses synthetic components and biofuels). The hybrid module, of course, has added weight (about a hundred kilos) to the center of a car that now, as mentioned before, drives differently from the old WRCs, also due to the new five-speed gearbox with central lever. (and no longer six, equipped with paddles): a fact that now forces the drivers to constantly detach their right hand from the steering wheel, with obvious consequences on the control of the vehicle. Another world, compared to the last few years. There are two differentials, without the active central one, while the mechanical all-wheel drive has been confirmed. Even the suspension, double MacPherson on the Yaris GR, is simpler than before, with a reduced allowable travel of the shock absorbers. Here in Sardinia, the specifications of the Yaris have been those for more rugged and unpaved surfaces, which normally provide for a greater excursion of the suspensions and, almost always, a greater thickness of the underbody protections.

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Over 200. A few more facts about Toyota cars: the GR Yaris Rally1, driven by the crews Elfyn Evans-Scott Martin, World Championship leader Kalle Rovanperä-Jonne Halttunen, and Esapekka Lappi-Janne Ferm, are 4.23 meters long, including the aerodynamic devices (like the large rear wing), 1.88 meters wide and with a wheelbase of 2.63. The minimum weight is 1,260 kilos (with liquids, unmanned), while, depending on the ratios, the speed can slightly exceed 200 km / h. The tires are for all Pirelli Scorpion, asphalt and dirt, the latter divided into hard compound (abbreviation K4) and soft (K6). If someone were to ask with short ratios and 4×4 traction how many seconds it takes a rally GR Yaris to reach 100 km / h, we could answer that the JAP stands at values ​​comparable to those of a supercar.

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