Marking the opening day of competition at the third round of the Cross-Country World Championship, Italian Alessandro secured his debut stage win of his rally career. Quickly mastering the challenging and complex navigation that the Sardinia rally is famous for, Botturi remained trouble free to top stage one by almost 72 seconds.
In what turned out to a triumphant day for the Italian born team, Botturi’s teammate Jordi Viladoms chased him home for second. Keeping his cool in the soaring Italian heat, Villadoms held off a late charge by both Marc Coma (KTM) and Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda.
Helder Rodrigues and Marc Coma wait for the start of stage one
Coma, twice a winner of the rally, placed third. With navigation a crucial part in ensuring a strong finish in Sardinia, the KTM rider opted to “follow” on day one in a bid to position himself strongly for the days ahead. Also making his debut appearance in the Sardegna Rally Race, Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda finished fourth on day one. Determined to position himself in a prime position ahead of day two’s marathon stage, Barreda coped adequately with the complex navigation of the rally and finished less than 14 seconds adrift of Coma.
Spain’s Joan Pedrero (KTM) completed the top five finishers of stage one.
After a fast start to the morning Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues fell foul of navigation issues and dropped back to end stage one in eighth.
KTM's Cyril Despres was a non-starter due to family commitments.
Sardegna Rally Race – Stage One
1, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, (KTM) 2: 52.53.28
2, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 1.11.75
3, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 1.29.45
4, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna at 1.42.01
5, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 2.41.09
6, Gerard Farres, Spain, KTM at 3.30.07
7, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 3:30.07
8, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 6.14.68
9, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 8.49.40