WRC

Rally Turkey: Skoda shakedown summary

* Special stages new for all WRC teams * Rough roads a challenge for the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team * Skoda Octavia WRC well prepared for the job The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team looks forward to the third round in the 2003 FIA...

* Special stages new for all WRC teams

* Rough roads a challenge for the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team

* Skoda Octavia WRC well prepared for the job

The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team looks forward to the third round in the 2003 FIA World Rally Championship, the Rally of Turkey. This event, which starts with a super special stage tonight, is completely new to the Championship, and the first rally outside Europe this year. The rally takes place in the Antalya region on the Turkish south coast, with special stages in the hills of Kemer. Prior to this rally, Skoda Motorsport carried out a test programme in Spain. Car settings were adjusted to the road conditions in Turkey, where gravel tracks, rocky roads, and bad surfaces prevail. To allow for as much in-factory preparation time as possible, the Skoda Octavia WRC vehicles and their spare parts were flown into Turkey by a specially rented aircraft just four days before the start of the rally.

All teams drove the special stages earlier this week to make pace notes. Co-driver Paavo Lukander says: "Although we have driven the special stages twice, we do not know what the road conditions will be on the stages once the cars in front of us have gone through. We can drive our Octavia WRC carefully but it won't help. We might as well go 100%."

Didier Auriol, coming back from one of several shakedown runs, says: "Our biggest challenge is to stay on the road and not to make any mistakes. If you hit one of these big stones, you might break a wheel and you are out. The roads are extremely rough and there are big holes everywhere. I don't think of damaging the car when I drive. If you do that, you will be slower. If we can keep going, we may collect some points because I expect more retirements than usual."

Toni Gardemeister has mixed feelings about this rally, saying: "I do not like these very rough and twisty roads so much, I prefer fast and flowing rallies", reflecting his nickname of Flying Finn. "I am always afraid of breaking the car, but the Skoda Octavia WRC is quite strong and reliable, so we will go flat out."

The first Special Stage of the Rally of Turkey is the Efes Pilsen Super Special Stage tonight at 18.50, close to Antalya.

-skoda-

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Series WRC
Drivers Didier Auriol , Toni Gardemeister , Paavo Lukander