After the World Rally Championship (WRC) season relaunched in Estonia, the series continues with WRC Rally Turkey. The rally started on Friday morning with a shakedown stage and the official start is at 5.08 p.m. Estonian time.
Compared to WRC Rally Estonia held two weeks ago, the Turkish roads pose a different set of challenges, as drivers are will compete on much slower, curvier and rockier roads. The stages are also much longer, with the longest being 38.15 km.
Fresh off their win in Estonia, reigning world champion pair of Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja are optimistic but cautious.
Tänak said on September 11: "[WRC Rally Turkey] is undoubtedly the most difficult round of the season. It is always very hot and it is difficult for both the car and the team. Our goal is to go for victory and to continue our hunt for the WRC title."
Tänak and Järveoja know all about the tricky Turkish roads as last year their Toyota failed to hold up, ending the pair's rally on a Saturday.
This time they aim to repeat their performance in 2018, when they won the rally for Toyota. Now they are competing with Hyundai, which has historically performed best on the roads of Turkey.
Last year's Rally Turkey winner Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) is looking for a repeat: "Obviously we have great memories of last year's Turkish rally, when Julien [Ingassia, co-driver] and I were able to win. Repeating our success this year won't be easy: It is a tough rally for everyone."
The six-time world champion continued: "But I am very excited for what we are able to do with the [Toyota] Yaris. Our preparatory tests went by well, we have certainly made progress so let's see what we can do."
The full organizer's programme of the event is as follows:
Friday, September 18:
Shakedown - 4.70 km - 9.01 p.m.
SS1 Icmeler - 13.90 km - 5.08 p.m.
SS2 Gökce - 11.32 km - 6.21 p.m.
Saturday, September 19:
SS3 Yesilbelde 1 - 31.79 km - 8.45 a.m.
SS4 Datca 1 - 8.75 km - 10.08 a.m.
SS5 Kizlan 1 - 13.15 km - 11.06 a.m.
SS6 Yesilbelde 2 - 31.79 km - 2.45 p.m.
SS7 Datca 2 - 8.75 km - 4.08 p.m.
SS8 Kizlan 2 - 13.15 km - 5.06 p.m.
Sunday, September 20
SS9 Cetibeli 1 - 38.15 km - 7.30 a.m.
SS10 Marmaris 1 - 6.22 km - 9.08 a.m.
SS11 Cetibeli 1 - 38.15 km - 11.10 a.m.
SS12 Marmaris 2 - 6.22 km - 1.18 a.m.
WRC entry list:
3 Teemu Suninen - Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC)
4 Esapekka Lappi - Janne Ferm (Ford Fiesta WRC)
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet - Vincent Landais (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
8 Ott Tänak - Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
9 Sebastien Loeb - Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
11 Thierry Neuville - Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
17 Sebastien Ogier - Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC)
33 Elfyn Evans - Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC)
44 Gus Greensmith - Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC)
69 Kalle Rovanperä - Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC)
WRC drivers' rankings
1. Sebastien Ogier 79
2. Elfyn Evans 70
3. Ott Tänak 66
4. Kalle Rovanperä 55
5. Thierry Neuville 42
6. Teemu Suninen 34
7. Esapekka Lappi 30
8. Craig Breen 25
9. Pontus Tidemand 8
10. Sebastien Loeb 8
WRC manufacturers' rankings
1. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 137
2. Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 132
3. M-Sport Ford WRT 83
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste