Day 1 (after six special stages), Rally of Turkey 2006, October 13th - 15th Dire conditions because of incessant rain, three stages had to be cancelled already Red Bull Skoda tries to run without too many risks, it is essential that both...
Day 1 (after six special stages), Rally of Turkey 2006, October 13th - 15th
Dire conditions because of incessant rain, three stages had to be cancelled already
Red Bull Skoda tries to run without too many risks, it is essential that both Fabia WRC stay on the road
Andreas Aigner (AUT)/Klaus Wicha (GER) are in P12 overall after starting in the top seven
Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen (FIN) are 14th overall after having to drive on three wheels
Marcus Gronholm dominates ahead of Petter Solberg Loeb's substitute Colin McRae is in fourth position
After the thunderstorms on Wednesday evening that wreaked havoc on the service park in Kemer, the 7th Rally of Turkey got under way today, once again in the most adverse of weather conditions. It had been raining continuously, so the organizers already had to cancel today's stages 1, 2 and 4 . Vast amounts of water and mud made the roads simply impassable.
Andreas Aigner started the rally very swiftly and was able to run with the world's elite on SS 3 in seventh position. Manfred Stohl, for instance, just managed eleventh: "It was incredibly difficult to choose the right pace in conditions like these without running off the road. Each and every corner is giving you goose bumps since you don't know whether or not there will be enough grip. Quite slowly we got used to these conditions, so I hope we can continue like that. We even had a mascot in the car: For some unknown reason we had a lizard as a stowaway on SS 3."
For Finland's Harri Rovanpera, the rally got under way with both ups and downs. At first he posted the third-fastest split time on SS 3, he then hit a rock, losing his left rear wheel and driving back to service on the rim for many kilometres: "It was very slippery, and it all went very fast. I wasn't able to avoid the rock because of all the mud on the road. We can be glad that we were even able to return to service on three wheels."
The two team bosses Raimund Baumschlager and Armin Schwarz agreed: "This rally is a true game of chance. You can either take a big gamble and come through, or be thrown out. We hope that our drivers will be able find the correct formula."
In absence of the injured championship leader Sebastien Loeb, Finland's Marcus Gronholm (Ford) is the star attraction at the top of the field. He drives on the absolute limit and was able to downright outclass his competitors on SS 3. Colin McRae, Loeb's substitute at Citroen, is classified fourth with a 47.1 second deficit, behind Petter Solberg (Subaru) and Hirvonen (Ford).