WRC

Rally of Turkey: Final summary

Ford World Rally Team claimed a magnificent 1-2 finish on the Rally of Turkey today to move into the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship. Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen led from start to finish in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car to...

Ford World Rally Team claimed a magnificent 1-2 finish on the Rally of Turkey today to move into the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship. Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen led from start to finish in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car to secure their fifth victory of the season in treacherously slippery conditions. The Finns won by 2min 23.4sec from team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, who equalled their career-best result in another Focus RS. Henning Solberg (Peugeot) claimed his first WRC podium finish in third, despite a leaking brake pipe on the penultimate stage which he fixed himself. A thrilling three-car battle for fourth saw the trio swap positions on every stage. It ended with Xevi Pons (Citroen) leaping from sixth to fourth on the final test. He finished 1.1sec ahead of Kosti Katajamaki (Ford), who climbed to fourth on the penultimate stage but suffered a loss of power on the final test due to high oil and gearbox temperatures. Chris Atkinson (Subaru) started the day in fourth but spun on the penultimate stage to slip to fifth and dropped another place on the last test. Dani Sordo (Citroen) started the day in 10th but snatched seventh with top three times on the final two stages. However, team-mate Colin McRae had less success, stopping on the final test with alternator troubles and losing seventh place.

Kronos Total Citroen

The final leg of the Rally of Turkey on Sunday was short, consisting of three special stages made up of 51 competitive kilometres. However, Kronos Racing's two young Spaniards put it to excellent use. Xevi Pons and Dani Sordo concluded an excellent rally by making up two and three places respectively on the final day. Pons ended up just off the podium, while reigning Junior World Champion Sordo was seventh. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist were forced into retirement on the final stage with an alternator problem.

Colin McRae: Retired

Daniel Sordo: "I was here in Turkey for the first time. It's a nice rally and quite specialised. From the beginning I had a Xsara that was forgiving and easy to drive : exactly what you need in these conditions. My notes were accurate, and there were not too many surprises. OK, on Friday I went for a tyre choice that was hardly ideal. On the other hand, I set some quick times on the first run through some of the stages, I also set my first fastest time on gravel - which is something I won't forget - and finally I finished the rally pushing hard. It's all very encouraging. "

OMV-Peugeot Norway

The OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team has reason to celebrate at the "Rally of Turkey". Following Manfred Stohl in Mexico, OMV Teammate Henning Solberg also reached the podium on Sunday. This also means the first top 3 place in the FIA World Rally Championship for the 33-year-old Norwegian. A competitive performance on the final day won Manfred Stohl and Ilka Minor one WRC-point in the driver ranking. In the manufacture ranking the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team took no less than eight points.

Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor: "We tried everything and on Sunday we were really fast. I didn't lose seventh place just on the last special stage. In any case it is one point won and we can leave Turkey with our heads held high. I nevertheless expect top results for the next rallies once again."

Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud: "When we reached the finish of the SS Cato suddenly started to cry. I couldn't help myself and joined in. It is such a wonderful day for us. I'd like to thank my family, Bozian Racing and my sponsors who have made such happiness possible for me."

BP-Ford

BP-Ford World Rally Team claimed a magnificent 1-2 finish on the Rally of Turkey today to move into the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship. Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen led from start to finish in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car to secure their fifth victory of the season in treacherously slippery conditions. The Finns won by 2min 23.4sec from team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, who equalled their career-best result in another Focus RS.

Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen: "To win with no problems in such tricky conditions is a fantastic achievement from the whole team. Yesterday was one of the worst days I have seen in the WRC. It was a difficult rally with so much mud and I felt far more relaxed when I no longer had to push after Petter Solberg retired yesterday. It was incredibly hard to attack on roads that were so slippery it was difficult to stand up."

Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen: "This has been a really strong weekend from the team and a very important result. We made no mistakes which is excellent in these tough conditions. They constantly changed and we even saw hail yesterday. I was confident before the start because I knew changes to the set-up of my car would benefit me and I would be quicker. It is fantastic to have a 1-2 finish for Ford and Finland. We had such a good car and it was a good team effort. There are three more rallies and I hope for three more podiums."

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford

No information available at time of going to press.

Subaru

Subaru World Rally Team driver Chris Atkinson finished sixth on Rally Turkey today after a tense final Leg of competition which brought multiple changes to the top ten. Atkinson started the day in a realistic pursuit of third place, but a small mistake on the second test dropped him into the frantic battle for fourth instead. After 351 stage kilometres in some extremely difficult conditions, Chris finished the rally just nine seconds adrift of fourth place and 30.5 seconds off the podium. After retiring on the second Leg, Petter Solberg restarted today to test different settings for the forthcoming gravel events. Solberg set the quickest time on two of the three stages.

Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "Apart from hitting the rock yesterday, the rally was actually quite good for us. The car has improved and we enjoyed being back again where we should be. Of course we are not happy with the overall result, but we're happy with the performance. We'll keep pushing harder as we know there is still much more to come."

Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "It's been a tricky weekend as the speed is encouraging but still we want better results. We struggled with the set-up all weekend and trying to find the right balance, so it's good to get to the finish. We're sure to be trying in Australia as it's my home rally and we led there last year and want to get a strong result."

Red Bull Skoda

On the final day of the 7th Rally of Turkey in Kemer, the sun shone permanently for the first time after the disastrous weather conditions of the days before. Red Bull Skoda was able to bring both Fabia WRCs to the finishing line without any problems this time despite the difficult and very changeable conditions.

Harri Rovanpera: "I had no technical problems whatsoever this time. Personally, I expected a bit more from my rally in Turkey. Unfortunately, losing the wheel on the first day cost me more than a minute for sure, and it's simply impossible to make that up again."

Andreas Aigner: "On the first day I still felt a bit insecure because of the heavy rain and the loads of mud on the road, but I'm very happy with the second and the third day. We, and I'm referring to the entire team, have taken another big step up the ladder, and I want to thank everybody, including my co-driver Klaus Wicha. Obviously I'm feeling very good right now, I can really push on each and every stage already which makes me particularly happy. I hope that I'll be able to repeat that in December at the conclusion of the WRC season in Wales."

-credit: rallye-newsletter.com

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Harri Rovanpera , Marcus Gronholm , Petter Solberg , Timo Rautiainen , Nicky Grist , Manfred Stohl , Mikko Hirvonen , Kosti Katajamaki , Jarmo Lehtinen , Henning Solberg , Cato Menkerud , Ilka Minor , Daniel Sordo , Chris Atkinson , Klaus Wicha , Andreas Aigner
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , M-Sport