Rally of Turkey Final Leg News Overnight leader Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) cruised to his fourth consecutive victory and his fifth of the season. The Frenchman won by 59.6sec and leads the championship by 13 points. Having overhauled Marcus ...
Rally of Turkey Final Leg News
Overnight leader Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) cruised to his fourth consecutive victory and his fifth of the season. The Frenchman won by 59.6sec and leads the championship by 13 points. Having overhauled Marcus Gronholm (Peugeot) yesterday, Petter Solberg (Subaru) pulled further ahead today and took second, 15.7sec ahead of the Finn. Carlos Sainz (Citroen) claimed fourth on his return to the sport ahead of Markko Martin (Peugeot). Ford drivers Toni Gardemeister came in 6th and 7th respectively whilst eighth place was sufficient for Gigi Galli (Mitsubishi) to take the final points position in both the drivers' and manufacturers' series.
Following their win in Kemer twelve months ago, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were again successful in Turkey this weekend to notch up their fourth WRC success in a row, a rare feat that has only been achieved by four other drivers in the history of the championship. The weekend's result is also the pair's fifteenth win from 47 starts with the Xsara WRC and maintains Citroen's unbeaten record on Turkish soil. Winners of the first Rally of Turkey to qualify for the WRC in 2003, Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti finished in 4th place, the same position as last year.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: Four wins in a row. I'm clearly on a positive run at the moment, but I want to stress the importance of the team's contribution to this series of wins. They are more motivated than ever and continue not to make any mistakes. It was also a big pleasure to join forces with Carlos again. We picked up our association as though we had parted company the previous day. The silver fern the Maoris gave me in New Zealand? It's still in the car. A bit faded, but it's still there and it will stay there for the next rounds,"
Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti: "I'm obviously delighted to be at the finish. It wasn't as straightforward as that to pull off my mission. I had to find the right pace to finish high up and score as many points as possible, while at the same time not making any mistakes despite the awful weather conditions. But we've done it! I am very happy for Seb after his impressive win. It's been a superb weekend for the whole team. Working with everyone again has been a big occasion and lived up every bit to my experience with Citroen as a whole."
Petter Solberg maintained his overnight position to finish second in the Rally of Turkey today. Increasing his advantage over closest rival Marcus Gronholm by 7.9 seconds, the Norwegian took a stage win and crossed the finish line to collect another eight points in the Drivers' Championship. Chris Atkinson was essentially testing today, after an incident on Leg one cost him time. Completing the day's 50km of stages, the Australian gained more experience of the event's rough terrain aboard his Subaru Impreza WRC2005.
Petter Solberg / Phil Mills: "The rally has actually worked very well for me and we've had a good two days. I took quite a lot of time out of Marcus yesterday and had a good feeling that I could do something similar today. We attacked quite hard on the first stage today, but on the second we just drove according to the splits. We managed to secure second place and I'm very pleased for Subaru and the team. Our pace was encouraging, but we still have to find a solution to challenge Sebastien all the time. It would have been good to have fought more closely with him, but that's how it is and we've done the best we can."
Chris Atkinson/Glen Macneall: "I think we could have run at a good pace all weekend, but instead I've had to treat this rally as a test after a silly mistake. But, on the positive side, it's good to get more experience of the car on the stages. I'm always finding more things and now have a comfortable set up for these conditions. It's a bit frustrating, but I'm trying to learn as quickly as possible. I think we've got a good base set up for Greece, it's another new event for me, but I'm looking forward to it."
BP-Ford World Rally Team claimed a double points haul as three Focus RS World Rally Cars finished in the top nine on the Rally of Turkey today. Toni Gardemeister and Jakke Honkanen were sixth, finishing this seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship 41.0 seconds and one place ahead of team-mates Roman Kresta and Jan Mozný. A third privately-entered Focus RS, driven by Antony Warmbold and Michael Orr, was ninth.
Toni Gardemeister / Jakke Honkanen: "I was happier with the set-up of the car today. I made the suspension stiffer and that felt good but then the grip wasn't as strong, so maybe if we change the set-up we need to look at different tyre options as well. The surface is different on the next round in Greece and I'm aiming for a good result there."
Roman Kresta / Jan Mozny: "I pushed hard on the opening stage, which had good grip. The last stage had a lot of loose gravel on the surface so I made sure I was careful. It's been a good weekend and I've now scored points on each of the last three rallies which shows good consistency. It has been hard to choose the right tyres with the constant weather changes, and it's especially difficult when the weather is so different on the recce than it is on the rally.
By finishing third and fifth on the Rally of Turkey, the 307 WRC drivers Marcus Gronholm and Markko Martin have allowed Peugeot to retain the lead of the manufacturers' championship with a four-point advantage over Citroen. The two stages which made up the final leg of the Rally of Turkey decided the podium places behind the undisputed winner Sebastien Loeb. Even though Marcus set fastest time on the last stage, it was not enough to take second place from Subaru's Petter Solberg - who was fastest by nearly 10 seconds on the penultimate stage.
Marcus Gronholm / Timo Rautiainen: "I did my best to pass Petter today - I even removed the air conditioning unit from my car at service in order to save a bit of weight, but there was nothing more I could do. We were very close until the last 7 kilometres of SS17, then Petter did a very good time. Of course I was pushing, but my instructions were to get to the finish and make sure of scoring some points for Peugeot in the manufacturers championship. Luckily we were able to do that and Peugeot remains in the lead."
Markko Martin / Michael Park: "This has been a tough rally for us and we have struggled to find complete confidence in the car. It was also difficult to judge the tyre choices, but for the most part I think we got it right. We still have a lot of work to do, but at least we have come away with some points which are vital for both championships. Today we did not take any risks and just made sure we got to the finish with no problems. There was not much to get excited about!"
The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC crew of "Gigi" Galli and Guido D'Amore once again scored points for the team in the Rally of Turkey, the Lancer WRC05 crew finishing eighth overall in only their second outing in the event. The Italians were robbed of a potential podium position during the start of the second leg, but nevertheless set two fastest stage times, led the rally for one stage and displayed stunning form on another of the toughest rounds of the series.
Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen: "It's been a difficult rally which really ended for us on Friday. Since then we have been testing various things to see if we can find solutions for different situations. We have learned some stuff, but overall the rally has not been fantastic for us. Overall the tires have been working very well, the wear was good and we can look forward to Greece with some optimism."
Gigi Galli / Guido D'Amore: "We took a steady pace today as there was no point to risk anything. Despite the disappointment yesterday, I have to say I am very happy with this rally. We made some good times and we are very close to having a great result. For me, that's in two rallies time, then it's my turn! We have some new solutions coming up, things we have already tested that I think will mean we can challenge and make the podium."
Janne Tuohino brought the Skoda Fabia WRC 05 to the finish of the Rally of Turkey in 13th position. His overall placing was compromised by breaking the car's suspension on a rock during Friday's opening leg and the eight minutes of additional penalty incurred under the SupeRally rules denied Janne a possible top 10 finish.
Janne Tuohino / Mikko Markkula: "We lost the front brakes on the long second stage today so I had to drive using the handbrake only. It didn't change our overall position but it meant we couldn't challenge to move up one place at the finish. I'm looking forward now to Greece as that's one of my favourite events and I hope that I can get a good result there."
Armin Schwarz / Klaus Wicha: Retired
Round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship starts in three weeks time when crews travel to Greece for the Acropolis Rally. The last of a trio of hot and rough gravel rallies held in the Mediterranean, the event features similar terrain to that seen in Cyprus and Turkey. Suspension and dampers must cope with high-speed impacts in searing temperatures, while drivers regularly have to dodge huge boulders. Starting on Thursday 23 June with a Super Special round the Olympic Stadium in Athens, the event will conclude on Sunday 26 June. Rally HQ and service will be based in the port of Lamia, 200 kilometres west of Athens.