Sandell aims for Sardinia win

Sandell aims for Sardinia winFrom General Article [ 20/05/2009 ].
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After a short break in the Production Car World Rally Championship the second half of the season gets underway for the Red Bull Rally Team this weekend. From Friday to Sunday the “Rally d’Italia Sardegna” in Sardinia is on the schedule.

Patrik Sandell/Emil Axelsson (SWE) – Skoda Fabia S2000 – are well-prepared going to Sardinia for the fifth PWRC event.

Patrik Sandell: “I’ve been working very hard on my fitness again over the past few weeks. In the meantime I took part in a 24 hour kart race for Red Bull in Paris and last week completed a test in Austria. This was very important – since we again found a few little things, thus optimising the Skoda Fabia S2000 even further.”

Sandell, who like the leading Portuguese Araujo had skipped the Argentina event, has dropped down to third place in the overall PWRC classification. Nasser Al-Attiyah, who was victorious in Argentina, is the new man in second.

An intermediate result that does not really worry Sandell: “The retirement in Portugal was completely unnecessary – but I’ve long forgotten that, now I’m only looking forwards. I’m going to Italy to win. And then everything will look very differently again”, the self-assured Swede says.

This year is already the fourth appearance in Sardinia for Sandell: After winning the Junior classification in 2006, he had been fighting for the win in each of the past two years, but both times had to retire prematurely due to a technical fault.

So the second half of the season gets underway for the Red Bull Rally Team. The BRR team boss gives a first summary.

Raimund Baumschlager: “We certainly had a sensational start to the season with our two wins, but after retiring in Portugal that comfortable situation is no more – now we’re under pressure once again. There’s no harm done yet, but we cannot afford another retirement. I’m very confident for Sardinia, but after that it’s going to be much tougher in Greece – a real struggle for survival. Finally, Wales Rally GB should suit us. If our title chances are still intact by then, our prospects are pretty good.”

The “Rally d'Italia Sardegna” begins and ends in Olbia. It starts on Friday at 8 a.m., the finish is planned for Sunday, 2.15 p.m. A total of 17 special stages with an overall length of 347.12 kilometres are scheduled.

Overall PWRC standings
(after four events)

P1 Armindo Araujo (POR) - 23 points
P2 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) - 21
P3 Patrik Sandell (SWE) - 20