The Loudon-Clear guide to Rally Turkey

The Loudon-Clear guide to Rally TurkeyFrom Tunnocks (Stuart Loudon) [ 08/09/2018 ].
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The World Rally Championship has been to Turkey six times before, but still next week's Marmaris-based event will be a real step into the unknown. None of the drivers or co-drivers know what they're in for. They have an idea, but they don't know and they won't know until 0700 on Tuesday, when they start the recce. That's exciting. That's a genuinely level playing field. And that's something which can only feed a championship battle which is heading rapidly towards fever pitch. What we do know from last year's candidate event is that the stages around Marmaris are split in nature, there are some quicker, smoother, more flowing sections where the speed should be quite high, but then there are the rougher, rockier roads in the mountains where the demands on car and crew will be high. And the town itself? Well, it's a tourist town not dissimilar in rally-terms to Salou on Rally Spain.

Rally Turkey in detail
FIA World Rally Championship round 10/13
Date: Thursday September 13 - Sunday September 16
Based: Marmaris
Stages: 17
Competitive distance: 312.44km (194.15 miles)
Liaison distance: 562.90km (349.78 miles)
Total distance: 875.34km (543.93 miles)
Shortest stage: SS1 Super Special Stage Turkey Full Speed 2.00km (1.24 miles)
Longest stage: SS2/5 Çetibeli 38.10km (23.67 miles)
Currency: Turkish Lira
Time difference: GMT +3
Sunrise: 0647
Sunset: 1917

The 4.70km (2.92 miles) shakedown stage is located in Degirmenyani, 7.17km (4.45 miles) from the service park in Asparan. The stage runs from 0930-1500 on Thursday September 13.

Rally Turkey itinerary

Thursday September 13
SS1 Super Special Stage Turkey Full Speed 2.00km (1.24 miles) 2008

Friday September 14
SS2 Çetibeli 1 38.10km (23.67 miles) 0758
SS3 Ula 1 21.75km (13.51 miles) 0921
SS4 Çiçekli 1 12.57km (7.81 miles) 1024
Service Asparan 1159
SS5 Çetibeli 2 38.10km (23.67 miles) 1337
SS6 Ula 2 21.75km (13.51 miles) 1500
SS7 Çiçekli 2 12.57km (7.81 miles) 1603
Service Asparan 1738

Saturday September 15
SS8 Yesilbelde 1 34.24km (21.27 miles) 0835
SS9 Datça 1 10.70km (6.64 miles) 1008
SS10 Içmeler 1 20.37km (12.65 miles) 1111
Service Asparan 1151
SS11 Yesilbelde 2 34.24km (21.27 miles) 1324
SS12 Datça 2 10.70km (6.64 miles) 1508
SS13 Içmeler 1 20.37km (12.65 miles) 1611
Service Asparan 1651

Sunday September 16
SS14 Marmaris 1 7.14km (4.43 miles) 1008
SS15 Ovacik 8.05km (5.00 miles) 1046
SS16 Gökçe 12.65km (7.86 miles) 1124
SS17 Marmaris 2 7.14km (4.43 miles) 1318
Finish Marmaris 1338

Running order:
5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC)
8 Ott Tänak/Martin Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC)
9 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)
6 Hayden Paddon/Sebastian Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)
7 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC)
2 Elfyn Evans/Dan Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC)
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC)
11 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroën C3 WRC)
3 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC)

Leading WRC championship positions:
1 Neuville 172pts; 2 Ogier 149; 3 Tänak 136; 4 Lappi 88; 5 Mikkelsen 65; 6 Dani Sordo 60; 7 Latvala 55; 8 Evans 52; 9 Ostberg 48; 10 Craig Breen 47, etc

WRC manufacturer championship positions:
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 254pts; 2 Toyota Gazoo Racing 241; 3 M-Sport Ford WRT 224; 4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 159

Leading WRC2 runners:
31 Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5)
32 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)
33 Gus Greensmith/TBC (Ford Fiesta R5)
34 Pedro Heller/Pablo Olmos (Ford Fiesta R5)
35 Diogo Salvi/Hugo Magalhães (Skoda Fabia R5)
36 Kajetan kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta R5)
37 Simone Tempestini/Sergiu Itu (Citroën C3 R5)
38 Murat Bostanci/Onur Vatansever (Ford Fiesta R5)
39 Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (Skoda Fabia R5)
40 Burak Çukurova/Vedat Bostanci (Skoda Fabia R5)

Leading WRC2 championship positions:
1 Kopecky 100pts; 2 Tidemand 93; 3 Greensmith 55; 4 Pieniazek 48; 5 Andolfi 46; 6 Veiby 45, etc

Stuart Loudon's key stage: SS2 Çetibeli 38.10km (23.67 miles)

If almost 40 brand new, flat-out kilometres of World Rally Championship action doesn't have you leaping out of bed on Friday morning then there's something wrong with you.

It's quite rare these days to start the first full day of action with a stage as long as this one. This test will provide a real opportunity for those fast starters in the field and it will seriously punish anybody caught napping. The guys will have to be up and on it from the first corner; there's time to be won in this one and coming out of here with a 10 or 12-second lead puts you firmly on the front foot and lays a great foundation.

I've been keeping an eye on the temperature in the region recently and you'd be tempted to say the first run of this stage, starting just before eight, shouldn't be too hard on the tyres. I'm not so sure; it's perfectly possible the ambient will be up around 30 and it hasn't rained on those roads for a very long time. With a further two stages and 35km to come, tyres will have to be managed even in this early stage.

Stuart will be watching… #10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC)

I think everybody was a little bit surprised by Mads' performance in Finland in the summer. Nobody could ever doubt this guy's ability, but to chase the win in Jyväskylä and eventually come out of the season's fastest rally with second place was exceptional for somebody with so little experience of Citroën's C3 WRC - it was only his third World Rally Championship start in the car.

Even Turkey's quickest bits won't be a patch on what Finland had to offer, but Østberg's well placed for a number of reasons: he generally goes well first time out on new events, he knows he's on a level playing field with the same knowledge as everybody else and he's in a great place on the road. Providing it doesn't rain (highly unlikely), eighth on the road should provide the #10 C3 WRC with a cleaner line and good grip.

Weather with you:
It's hot (30-plus degrees). It's sunny (rain not pictured). It's all you need to know.

Most successful driver on Rally Turkey:
Sébastien Loeb (3 wins)