Carefully negotiating the rocky Turkish terrain, 555 Subaru World Rally Team driver Tommi Makinen put in a solid performance at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza WRC2003 to maintain eighth position throughout the day. Today's measured performance ...
Carefully negotiating the rocky Turkish terrain, 555 Subaru World Rally Team driver Tommi Makinen put in a solid performance at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza WRC2003 to maintain eighth position throughout the day. Today's measured performance meant Tommi collected 1 Drivers' point and 2 Manufacturers' points for Subaru.
SS14 0801hrs Simena 2 (2.73km)
Fastest time: McRae (Citroen) 1:51.3
The second run through the shortened Simena test brought no change to the overall top ten. With no sign of the forecast rain, conditions in the mountains remained dry. Citroen's Colin McRae took the fastest time on the loose surface test, which had a cleaner driving line due to cars having swept the road on Leg one. The Scot recorded an average speed of 88.30kph, the fastest of the event so far. After the finish, crews moved directly to SS15.
SS15 0849hrs Myra 2 (24.01km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugoet) 21:20.7
Following yesterday's drama on the 24.01km route, the second run through the rocky and narrow Myra test caused no further problems for the leading WRC crews, despite it being more rutted than before. Running a softer compound tyre than in Leg one and two, Richard Burns drove a tidy stage to take his second win of the event, followed by his team-mate Gronholm, and Markko Martin, who was third. The Estonian's time was enough to snatch sixth overall from Skoda's Toni Gardemeister and at the end of the test he lay 1 minute 0.3 seconds behind Gilles Panizzi. Yesterday's problems behind him, Tommi Makinen was fifth fastest in his Subaru Impreza and maintained overall eighth. The twisty and narrow nature of the test, which included a common section with SS4 and SS6 and a river crossing, was reflected in the low average speeds that were recorded. Stage winner Burns averaged just 67.49kph.
SS16 0932hrs Arykanda (12.00km)
Fastest time: Duval (Ford) 8:13.4
Duval was fastest through the only 'new' stage of the day, and finished 0.4 seconds ahead of team-mate Martin to take his second WRC stage win of his career. No such luck for Freddy Loix. After having dropped almost nine minutes to the leaders on Leg two with engine and throttle problems, the Belgian ran into more trouble when he suffered a spin and lost a further 39.6 seconds. Despite admitting that motivation had become difficult due to his overall tenth position, Marcus Gronholm capitalised on Freddy's problems and moved to well within striking distance of the Belgian's overall ninth position. Subaru driver Makinen was eighth fastest, losing a little time when a deep water splash caused a temporary gear selection problem. At the end of the test, competitors returned to service before contesting the remaining 45.27km competitive kilometres.
SS17 1300hrs Perge 2 (24.97km)
Fastest time: Gronholm (Peugeot) 18:13.8
Freddy's loss was Marcus' gain in SS17, and the Finn stormed through the penultimate stage to take the stage win, snatch overall ninth from Hyundai's Loix and potentially pocket the final manufacturers' point for Peugeot. The test was much drier than when it was used in Leg one for SS5, and many of the leading WRC drivers, well cushioned in their overall top 10 positions, concentrated on getting their WRC cars to the finish, rather than seeking to set the most competitive times. There were no other changes to the overall top ten positions.
SS18 1413hrs Kemer 2 (20.30km)
Fastest time: Gronholm (Peugeot) 14:46.5
Carlos Sainz cruised through the final stage of the day to take the eighth fastest time and win the inaugural WRC event in Turkey. Not only his first win since Argentina last year, the victory was the Spaniard's first ever win for Citroen since joining the team earlier this year. In the WRC record books Carlos pulled level with team-mate Colin McRae with a total of 25 WRC wins. Burns finished third fastest in his 206WRC to take second, while Duval was fifth fastest for the final podium position. Completing the event with a cushion of 22.6 seconds between him and fourth placed Colin McRae, 22-year-old Duval scored the best result of his WRC career. Driving for the first time with co-driver Stephane Prevot, he picked up six points in the Driver's Championship.
David Lapworth , 555 Subaru World Rally Team Principal: "Obviously we're disappointed with the result, but we're pleased with many aspects of our performance and we go away from here full of confidence ahead of New Zealand. It's been a well run event, which showed that it deserved a place in the FIA World Rally Championship."
Tommi Makinen: "It's good to finish! The event was much tougher than we expected. During the recce we found that the stages were difficult, but when so many cars go through them they become very, very rough. It's a disappointing result for me, but before our problems we were making some good times. The car feels very good and I'm sure that in New Zealand, we will really see how the new car can perform."
Round four of the 2003 FIA World Rally Championship, starts in just over five weeks time when teams travel across the globe for the 33rd Rally New Zealand, the second gravel rally of the year. Comprising a total of 408.35 competitive kilometres and 22 stages based around the city of Auckland, the event starts on Friday 11 April and concludes on Sunday 13 April. The longest stage, SS10, is a mammoth 59km, while the shortest, used for SS15 and SS16, is 2.10km. Rally Headquarters will be based at the Sky City complex in Auckland, along with the overnight parc ferme.