The pre-race scrutineering of the 'premiere' of the Italian Regularity Championship 2023 took place in the stunning setting of Porto Cervo, first the 'sporting' at the Cervo Conference Centre and then the 'technical' at the Molo Vecchio, where the 21 competing crews prepared to start. Seventeen chose the 'medium high', two the 'medium intermediate' and two the 'medium low'.
Amidst uncertain weather conditions that alternated between sunny spells and brief, light showers, the first day was dominated by an incessant wind across the area. Four average stages were disputed on Saturday, with the two passages on the 'San Pasquale' of almost 14 kilometres and the 'Aglientu' of around 18, the longest of the rally.
First lap with the Swiss drivers of the Scuderia Grifone Christian and Elena Bonnet who, on board their Alfa Romeo Giulietta, are the best on both timed sections.
Excellent start also for Maurizio Verini, navigated by Massimo Liverani on Fiat X1-9, second for only one penalty on the first PM, and the Italian champions Paolo Concari and Cristiano Androvandi who, on board their Lancia Delta 4WD command the group of pursuers, Gandino-Scarcella, on Fiat Ritmo 130 TC, Catanzaro-Beneduce on Mazda 323 and Beretta-Giammarino on Porsche 911 SC.
After the Aglientu regrouping, the start of the second part of the first stage with the repetition of the two Pm.
Stage that ends in the sign of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of the Bonnet couple who seem to have no rivals in this season opener. In second place, with a delay of 26 penalties, is the Lancia Delta 4Wd of Paolo Concari and Cristiano Androvandi.
A tenth of a second behind the Italian Champions 2022, the podium was completed by Alberto Beretta and Francesco Giammarino and their Porsche 911 from the Scuderia Milano Autostoriche.
A beautiful sunshine illuminated the second stage of the sixth edition of the Cirm Costa Smeralda Trophy: four more stages put the crews to the test, "Lo Sfossato" and "Calangianus" both about 12 kilometres long.
The first twist saw the absence at the start of Maurizio Verini and Massimo Liverani due to the gearbox breakage of their Fiat X1-9, which left the Grifone crew stranded after PM4.
If the first stage was dominated by Christian Bonnet, the second saw the vehement comeback of Alberto Beretta.
The driver from Como left his opponents practically no chance, winning three of the four stages of the day, after Giorgio Garghetti and Barbara Giordano in a Bmw 320 had won the opening stage over 'Lo Sfossato 1' by four penalties.
Beretta-Giammarino's effort, however, was not enough to close the gap with the Grifone Bonnet-Bonnet crew who, on board their Alfa Romeo Giulietta, won the sixth edition of the Costa Smeralda - Medium Regularity, the first round of the Italian Speciality Championship, with 136 penalties.
With 11 penalties and great satisfaction, Alberto Beretta and Francesco Giammarino took second place in their Porsche 911 Sc.
Closing the podium, in a Lancia Delta Hf, Paolo Concari and Cristiano Androvandi, 27 penalties behind the winners.
Among the Teams, the Italian Champions of the Grifone are confirmed, while the Ladies Cup goes to Antonella Monza and Susanna Nicolini, authors of an impeccable race that saw the pink crew of the Milano Autostoriche enter the top ten with a 9th place overall on Porsche 911 T Coupè.
The challenges for the conquest of the five groupings were also exciting.
In addition to the obvious victory for Bonnet in the first, it was Luciano and Ennio Marchina who won Group 2 aboard the iconic Renault Alpine A110.
In second place were Carlo and Dario Pinci and their Fiat 124 Coupé.
In the fourth grouping, behind Beretta-Giammarino, were Maurizio Gandolfo and Enrico Merenda in a Mini Cooper 1300-Scuderia del Grifone.
Third step on the podium for Antonella Monza and Susanna Nicolini in the Porsche 911 T Coupè.
Group five saw Concari - Androvandi precede by a single penalty Roberto Sommaruga, navigated by Patrizia Fumanelli in an Audi Quattro - Milano autostoriche.
Fabio and Paolo Verdona took the lowest step on the podium. The Scuderia del Grifone crew took on the Sardinian race on board a Peugeot 205 GTI.
Next appointment for the CIRM Circus from 4 to 6 May in Palermo for the Targa Florio Rally.
A special by TopdriverTV will be broadcast on Thursday 26 April at 20:45.