Rally of Turkey Leg Two News Overnight leader Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) controlled his advantage and ended a troublefree leg having extended his lead to 1min 16.6sec. The big battle of the day was for second place. Gigi Galli...
Rally of Turkey Leg Two News
Overnight leader Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) controlled his advantage and ended a troublefree leg having extended his lead to 1min 16.6sec. The big battle of the day was for second place. Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi) dropped seven minutes on the opening two stages when his car's turbo pipe became disconnected. That left Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot) and Petter Solberg (Subaru) to fight it out. The Norwegian was happier with his tyre choice and was faster on every stage except one to move ahead of the Finn by 7.8sec. Carlos Sainz (Citroen) experimented with his suspension set-up and kept out of trouble to hold a lonely fourth ahead of Markko Martin (Peugeot). Galli recovered to eighth, despite a clutch problem this afternoon.
The final leg is short and sharp. After leaving Kemer at 09.00, drivers face just two speed tests covering 49.80km before returning for the finish ceremony at 12.55. However, the final 33.35km Olympos stage is the longest of the rally.
Both Citroen crews enjoyed an incident-free run during the long second leg of the 2005 Rally of Turkey. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena continue to top the leaderboard and returned to the Kemer parc ferme this evening with a cushion of 1m 16s over Petter Solberg. Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti have moved up one place to figure in an excellent 4th place tonight.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "There was a chance it might rain," continued Sebastien, "so we opted for a 'safe' tyre choice. As it turned out, we only came across rain on the road section between the two stages. As a result, we had re-cut our tyres too much for the conditions but that didn't have that much of an influence on our times."
Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti: "Given the gaps," explained Carlos Sainz, "we decided to change the set-up a little bit without losing sight of our objective which is to reach the finish and score Manufacturers' points."
Petter Solberg claimed three stage wins today to move two places up the overall leaderboard and hold second position on Rally Turkey. Adjusting his driving style to cope with the unpredictable mountain weather conditions, the Norwegian made some shrewd tyres choices during the day and moved ahead of rival Marcus Gronholm to end the day well poised for a strong points finish tomorrow. Re-starting the event after an incident on Leg one, Chris Atkinson fulfilled his aim of gaining more experience of the demanding Turkish terrain and experimenting with different set-ups on his Impreza WRC2005.
Petter Solberg / Phil Mills: "After all that's happened so far in this rally, I'm extremely pleased to be in second place tonight. Things are going the right way now and today has been completely different to yesterday when we were a long way off the pace. We were the fastest overall on today's stages and I think that's down to the tyres and the weather. Leg one was difficult, but today it's been warmer and, even with the same tyre compound, the package has worked much, much better. It'll definitely be an interesting fight with Marcus tomorrow, but my focus is on second place only now. All that matters is that Sebastien doesn't get too much of a lead in the Championship so I'm going to do all I can to prevent that."
Chris Atkinson/Glen Macneall: "It hasn't been an ideal day being first on the road, as we seem to have suffered with the worst of the wet weather. It was difficult to find the level of grip, so we lost quite a lot of time with spins and stalls. But, losing time isn't so much of a problem for us yet as our priority is still experience. If you take away the time we've lost through little mistakes, then the underlying pace is improving and that's encouraging. For tomorrow, we'll continue to work on the current set-up, we've got limited tyre options, but we'll have to see what the weather looks like and hopefully we can set some good times."
Both BP-Ford World Rally Team pairings hold points scoring positions after today's second leg of the Rally of Turkey as three Focus RS World Rally Cars lie in the top nine positions. Toni Gardemeister and Jakke Honkanen are sixth, one place ahead of team-mates Roman Kresta and Jan Mo¾ný, while the privately-entered Focus RS of Antony Warmbold and Michael Orr is ninth.
Toni Gardemeister / Jakke Honkanen: "Everything felt better and I drove absolutely flat out in both stages, I couldn't have gone any faster. The car felt fantastic, especially on the twisty sections. I chose quite hard tyres but they were OK on the first stage, which was damp and muddy. The second test was drier and the rubber was perfect," said Gardemeister. As the day continued he became embroiled in a huge battle for fifth with Markko Martin. The Estonian edged ahead by a handful of seconds until a front left puncture midway through the penultimate stage cost Gardemeister dearly. He dropped 2min 20sec, but did not lose any places. "About 9km before the end, I took a fast left bend into a downhill section and hit some stones. Immediately I saw rubber flying off the tyre. I continued to the end, by which time the flailing rubber had damaged the bodywork around the wheel arch and bumper," he explained.
Roman Kresta / Jan Mozny: "This morning was really good," said 29-year-old Kresta. "The car felt nice to drive, everything went well and my times were strong. This afternoon wasn't so bad, but I made a few mistakes on the last couple of stages before the super special. I don't know why but I didn't have a good rhythm and I made several mistakes in the muddy sections where I slid into banks."
A gap of just 17 seconds between Peugeot driver Marcus Gronholm and Petter Solberg at the start of leg two of the Rally Turkey set the scene for a battle which was as hot as the ambient temperature in Kemer, rally headquarters. After problems for Mitsubishi driver Gigi Galli on the opening loop of stages, Marcus managed to claim second place. However he was rapidly pursued by Solberg, who reeled him in second by second. Solberg passed Marcus on SS13, but the gap between them before the final leg is just 7.8 seconds. Only two action-packed stages remain tomorrow to decide the outcome.
Marcus Gronholm / Timo Rautiainen: It's good to be fighting for second place but of course I would rather be fighting for victory. But OK - Sebastien has been in a class of his own here, and we can only do our best and hope that he has a problem! Nothing has really gone wrong for us today but I am not quite sure if some of our tyre choices were correct for the conditions: sometimes the tyres seemed to be too hard. The car has again been very reliable, and we've got a good battle with Petter on the final day to look forward to. I'm going to be pushing hard but I don't want to do anything that risks our chance of scoring points for Peugeot.
Markko Martin / Michael Park: It's been an interesting fight with Toni Gardemeister, but he had a problem on the last loop of stages which takes the pressure off us. We've been quite lucky with the rain on the middle loop of stages today; it rained a lot on the road sections but seemed to stay dry on the competitive sections. We've also made some adjustments to the brakes today, which worked well. It's clear now that there is not so much we can do to make up another place so it is a question of keeping concentrated and trying to maintain our position to the end. The conditions are tricky, but the car has given us no problems.
After their stunning performance in the opening leg of the Rally of Turkey, in which "Gigi" Galli and Guido D'Amore held second overnight, the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 crew suffered huge disappointment this morning. The Italian duo plummeted to tenth position after the first two stages when a turbo pipe disconnected. After repairs in service, the crew were back on the pace and set their second fastest stage time of the event (SS14) and were consistently within the top five throughout the day. They overnight in eighth position. Team-mates Harri Rovanpera and Risto Pietilainen re-started under SUPERally regulations and hold 10th. The Finns are focused on testing and both crews hope to pick up manufacturer points on Sunday afternoon.
Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen: "We swapped to Gigi's set-up for the last three stages and for me there was no great difference", said Harri. "There was some better traction, but when it was bumpy the car was grounding more, so some things were good and others not so good. Overall everything's been okay, but it's been a long and hot day".
Gigi Galli / Guido D'Amore: "All the good sensation and satisfaction from yesterday is still there; none of us forget this", said a disappointed but philosophical Gigi. "We had one small problem and the one thing that changed is our position. Sure, that is disappointing for everyone, but our objective remains the same; to show speed, the car's potential, to learn the roads and understand more and more about the set-up. You learn something from every rally and I just have to think that this is just not our time yet. I knew this morning it would be hard to stay ahead of Marcus and Petter, but we did a good job during the day and did some top stage times; that is what matters".
©koda Motorsport World Rally Team driver Janne Tuohino climbed eight places to lie 13th in the Fabia WRC 05 after the second leg of the Rally of Turkey. Today's early stages were considerably drier than yesterday although rain showers hit the afternoon tests just before Janne was due to start. Despite the difficult weather conditions he managed to get into the top 10 times on three of the six stages held in the Anatolian mountains.
Janne Tuohino / Mikko Markkula: This morning's stages were drier than yesterday and very nice to drive. We had some hydraulic problems that slowed us on the longest stage of the day and it was quite tough when it rained in the afternoon. Tomorrow will be a difficult last day but we are not so far from a top 10 result.
Armin Schwarz / Klaus Wicha: Retired