Gabriele Tarquini says that driving the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on a gravel stage for the first time was ‘truly amazing’ – after the Italian racing legend got behind the rally steering wheel in Sardinia.

The reigning FIA World Touring Car Cup champion – who took part in 78 Formula 1 Grands Prix and has been racing top-level touring cars for over 30 years – attended Rally Italy as a guest of Hyundai Motorsport. He then remained in Sardinia to ride in a i20 WRC with Andreas Mikkelsen and then drive the car himself, with long-time friend and Hyundai Motorsport Team Director Andrea Adamo alongside him.

“I am grateful to Andrea, Andreas and Hyundai Motorsport for the opportunity to experience the incredible i20 Coupe WRC after Rally Italia Sardegna,” said Tarquini.

“It was the first time for me to drive on gravel and I was truly amazed. The acceleration, stability on the straight, gear changes, braking, driving style, are all so different to what I’m accustomed, and very impressive. These WRC drivers are crazy and talented individuals. I don’t know how Andrea remained so calm. Even in the passenger seat alongside a pro like Andreas, I was scared. It’s a totally different world to WTCR but equally fantastic; I hope we can return the favour one day!”

“To welcome Gabriele to Rally Italia Sardegna was a fantastic opportunity for us to unite the two areas of Hyundai Motorsport business,” added Adamo. “As the reigning WTCR champion, someone who has played such an important role in development of our i30 N TCR, Gabriele was able to experience the challenges faced by WRC drivers first-hand. Let’s just say he should probably stick to circuit racing and I should stick to my current job! We had a lot of fun and it was a perfect way to cross over the different worlds in which we are involved.”

Gabriele Tarquini is a long-time user of Stilo helmets.

Gabriele Tarquini, FIA World Touring Car Cup, FIA World Rally Championship, Hyundai, Andreas Mikkelsen