* Toni Gardemeister in top ten after the first day * Didier Auriol retires after eminent engine cooling problems * Skoda Motorsport positive about new WRC rally On the first day of the Rally of Turkey, five stages, totalling...
* Toni Gardemeister in top ten after the first day
* Didier Auriol retires after eminent engine cooling problems
* Skoda Motorsport positive about new WRC rally
On the first day of the Rally of Turkey, five stages, totalling 294.2 kilometres, were completed in sunny weather in the mountains of Kemer. The battered state of the cars entering the service park at the end of the day was an indication for the road condition on the stages. The Skoda Octavia WRC coped with the punishments very well but Skoda Motorsport had to face a disappointment at the end of the day. Didier Auriol retired after special stage number six, the last stage of the day, with engine problems.
Toni Gardemeister had a very good day, and getting out of his car in the service park with a smile on his face, he said: "It was very rough, with many stones in the middle of the road, thrown up by the cars driving ahead of us. This morning we had some problems finding grip when going fast. This afternoon it went all right and we went flat out. I don't know how many stones we hit. We had a front tyre puncture during special stage five, but we managed to hold on to the finish. The Octavia WRC went very well, although the roads are slightly narrow for our car. I think that the team has some work to do in the service park. We must have bent some suspension parts driving over these big stones."
Didier, interviewed by local television after special stage number four earlier on the day, said: "It went quite good this morning. I am building up experience with the Octavia WRC under the conditions which we find here. I have run quite a lot on tarmac and snow already, but not so much on rough gravel roads. I am still looking for the right settings." Didier was confronted with an alarming engine coolant temperature indication already early in the day. The problem could not be resolved and the engine gave up after the last special stage for the day, when Didier was on his way to the service park. Didier, with the disappointment on his face, said: "What a pity this is, because otherwise our cars stood up so well against the conditions here, we had no other problems to worry about."
Petr Kohoutek, Motorsport Director at Skoda Auto, was positive about the organisation of the rally. "This is a good premiere", he said. "The organisation seems to have everything well under control. It is a heavy rally, but a good addition to our calendar."
Tomorrow, on the second day of the Rally of Turkey, no less than seven special stages of totalling almost 325 kilometres will be run. The cars will leave parc ferme at 06.00 am