Marcus Chases The Lead in Turkey... Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished the opening leg of the Rally of Turkey in second and sixth places respectively. The Rally of Turkey, round seven of the World Rally ...
Marcus Chases The Lead in Turkey...
Peugeot drivers Marcus Gronholm and Harri Rovanpera have finished the opening leg of the Rally of Turkey in second and sixth places respectively.
The Rally of Turkey, round seven of the World Rally Championship, is characterised by hot, rough and rocky stages that are similar to those of the Acropolis Rally in Greece. Temperatures approached 40 degrees centigrade, making today's seven stages one of the toughest tests of the year for both drivers and cars. The stages were run over gravel mountain roads to the west of rally headquarters in Kemer, incorporating several tight hairpin bends and sharp rocks.
Marcus got off to a steady start on the morning's stages, which were damp due to some overnight rain. However, he did not have full confidence in the handling of his 307 WRC and changed the shock absorbers at first service. These modifications worked well, and Marcus set a fast yet consistent pace to challenge for the lead of the rally throughout the rest of the day. He ends the leg just 7.5 seconds behind the leader, and feels confident of pushing hard after enjoying perfect reliability so far.
Marcus said: "It's been a good opening leg. We're on the provisional podium and with a chance to fight for the lead, which is the most important thing. In the morning I did not feel too confident, but during the afternoon I had quite a good feeling with the car and I was able to push a bit. Tomorrow I have to attack, but it's also vital not to make any mistakes."
Harri was not so lucky, as he felt his rear differential beginning to fail barely one kilometre into the opening stage of the day. He struggled through the following stage back to service, but once the problem was fixed he started a brilliant recovery drive.
Harri set fastest time on SS4 and ends the day just 30 seconds off fifth place. The Finn is optimistic about his chances over another tough day of rallying tomorrow.
He commented: "It was a day which started off badly but got better! I thought my luck had gone when I had the problem with the differential at the very start of the rally, but in the afternoon I had no problems at all and I was able to set some quick times. Now I'm hoping for a trouble-free day tomorrow which will give us the chance to make up more places."
Tomorrow's action consists of six more challenging stages in the mountains to the west of Kemer, split into three loops of two. Crews get to tackle the longest stage of the rally (Kumluca) twice, as part of the 153 competitive kilometres that make up Saturday's itinerary. The first car leaves parc ferme at 0730, before returning to Kemer at 1912.