Natalie Barratt's Rally of Turkey debut came to a premature end today when she retired three stages into Leg 1 when her Renault Clio S1600 blew a fuse. The event started last night (Thursday 24 June) as huge crowds of eager fans lined the...
Natalie Barratt's Rally of Turkey debut came to a premature end today when she retired three stages into Leg 1 when her Renault Clio S1600 blew a fuse. The event started last night (Thursday 24 June) as huge crowds of eager fans lined the streets of Antalya hoping to catch a glimpse of their heroes as they crossed the ceremonial start line. They were then treated to some real action as teams tackled their first run of the new 2.5km super-special stage, held at Akdeniz University. Leg 1 continued this morning at 07.15 with five special stages, to the west of the Kemer rally base, and another run through of the Antalya super-special stage ahead.
Determined to make a good start this morning, Natalie and co-driver Carl Williamson were on a charge on the opening 28.98km Phaselis stage (SS2) only to slide wide on some mud and into a ditch near the end of the stage. When they tried to get themselves back on track their Renault's engine refused to re-start. They contacted the Team Natalie engineers by mobile telephone and with some expert advice they discovered that a fuse had blown along the cable which connects the battery to the alternator.
Improvising by using a screwdriver to re-connect the circuit, Carl managed to get the car started again but only after spending 12 minutes stopped by the side of the road. Already five minutes into her lateness to reach the start of the next stage, Natalie completed SS2 and rushed to SS3 which was only 2.37km away. Without having time to create a permanent fix for the fuse, the car's battery power drained as they made their way through SS3. Having managed to finish the stage it was clear that damage had been done and they were forced into early retirement.
Owing to the new Super Rally rule - which allows drivers who retire to re-start the rally on the next leg, but excludes them from scoring points -- the car will be repaired and Natalie will start Leg 2 tomorrow to gain more mileage and knowledge of her Renault Clio S1600.
Natalie said: "About a kilometre from the end of stage two we slid wide on a bit of mud and went off the road. We tried to get out but the car wouldn't start. We spoke to service and Carl was able to get the car started again. We finished the stage and rushed to the start of the next one. On stage three I made a small mistake which caused us to stall, which meant Carl had to go under the bonnet to get the car to start again. By the end of the stage the water temperature was getting high and I was starting to think our rally was over and thirty minutes later it was, as the battery was dead. It's a good job I'm not a superstitious person because at the moment I seem to have no luck."
Natalie's next rally will be the fourth round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, the Rally of Finland, on August 6-8. .