Final day of the 7th Rally of Turkey 2006, 13th WRC event of the season Enjoyable aspects for Red Bull Skoda, apart from a manufacturers' point the gap to the front runners was reduced to one second per kilometre Andreas Aigner (AUT) with ...
Final day of the 7th Rally of Turkey 2006, 13th WRC event of the season
Enjoyable aspects for Red Bull Skoda, apart from a manufacturers' point the gap to the front runners was reduced to one second per kilometre
Andreas Aigner (AUT) with co-driver Klaus Wicha (GER) once more proves his talent on gravel and finishes tenth in Turkey
Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen (FIN) ensure a positive result with a good performance and P11
Ford takes first and second place with Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen, Henning Solberg (Peugeot) in third
On the final day of the 7th Rally of Turkey in Kemer, the sun shone permanently for the first time after the disastrous weather conditions of the days before. Red Bull Skoda was able to bring both Fabia WRCs to the finishing line without any problems this time despite the difficult and very changeable conditions.
It was especially apparent that the team has managed to reduce the gap to the leading cars from 2.5 seconds per stage kilometre at the beginning of the season to just one second. This has also been the essential statement of the rally, which will not return to next year's WRC calendar, for the two team bosses Raimund Baumschlager and Armin Schwarz: "First of all I would like to thank the entire team. Because of the bad weather, the rally has been a big challenge which they mastered bravely. Andreas and Harri posted a top time in nine of the sixteen special stages. This certainly is the result of our extensive test sessions in the summer that our chief engineer Dietmar Metrich was primarily responsible for. With his performance, Aigner has proven once more that he has a lot of talent. He showed a lot of sophistication, he is already able to assess situations very well and on individual stages he is already setting a very good pace. Harri too is showing his strengths, especially on gravel, but he had a lot of bad luck on the first day because of the rock that tore off his rear wheel."
Andreas Aigner was the talk of the town after his fourth-fastest time on SS 14, and he re-confirmed his performance by finishing among the top ten in seventh, tenth and twice in eighth: "On the first day I still felt a bit insecure because of the heavy rain and the loads of mud on the road, but I'm very happy with the second and the third day. We, and I'm referring to the entire team, have taken another big step up the ladder, and I want to thank everybody, including my co-driver Klaus Wicha. Obviously I'm feeling very good right now, I can really push on each and every stage already which makes me particularly happy. I hope that I'll be able to repeat that in December at the conclusion of the WRC season in Wales. After retiring in Cyprus, I'm going to catch up on celebrating my 22nd birthday with our crew today."
Harri Rovanpera posted a total of four top ten times. He harvested one sixth, one seventh, one ninth and one tenth position: "I had no technical problems whatsoever this time. Personally, I expected a bit more from my rally in Turkey. Unfortunately, losing the wheel on the first day cost me more than a minute for sure, and it's simply impossible to make that up again."
In absence of the injured WRC leader Sebastien Loeb, his Finnish challenger Marcus Gronholm was the dominant winner of the rally. The Ford driver showed his class and had no rivals left to fight after Petter Solberg retired early. Mikko Hirvonen came home in second, with Ford taking the lead in the manufacturers' world championship from Citroen. Loeb substitute Colin McRae had to park his Citroen with overheating issues prior to the start of the final stage. In the drivers' world championship, Gronholm was able to reduce his deficit to Loeb to 25 points. Manfred Stohl ended up eighth, his OMV Peugeot Norway team-mate, Henning Solberg, climbed onto the podium and finished third.