Rally Turkey: Subaru leg two summary

After completing what was a difficult day of driving for all the WRC crews, 555 Subaru World Rally Team driver Tommi Makinen holds overnight eighth place. Despite suffering damage after hitting rocks in SS8 and SS10, the four times World Champion...

After completing what was a difficult day of driving for all the WRC crews, 555 Subaru World Rally Team driver Tommi Makinen holds overnight eighth place. Despite suffering damage after hitting rocks in SS8 and SS10, the four times World Champion still posted two top-three times. His Subaru Impreza WRC2003 proved strong in the face of the adverse conditions and Tommi ended the day in a potential point-scoring position.

Stage Reports

SS7 0711hrs Olympos 1 (20.44km)
Fastest time: Rovanpera (Peugeot) 16:45.1

Regarded as the roughest stage of the rally, the technical and twisty Olympos stage claimed the day's first victim, when Armin Schwarz's Hyundai was forced to retire after 14km with broken rear suspension. He had been in eighth position. There were no other major dramas on the narrow 20.44km test, and no one was caught out by the especially rough and slippery section from 5km to 9km. Yesterday's power-steering problems behind him, Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm was back on the pace, but Leg two brought more difficulties. Running first on the road, the Finn found himself acting as a sweeper for the following cars. He finished seventh fastest, and remained over eleven minutes behind the leaders. Rovanpera took the stage win, and Makinen was third. At the end of the test, the 555 Subaru driver lay 7.9 seconds behind Carlos Sainz, who was second overall.

SS8 0754hrs Kumluca 1 (28.92km)
Fastest time: Sainz (Citroen) 24:47.0

Thanks to the top 15 cars running in reverse on Leg two, Carlos Sainz and Richard Burns had ideal road positions and set the fastest and second fastest times respectively. A quick time from Carlos was enough to move him up to second overall. There were no retirements, but Toni Gardemeister lost time due to a loose battery in the cockpit of his Skoda Octavia, which lodged itself under the brake pedal and prevented him from braking properly. Freddy Loix also suffered when the throttle of this Hyundai kept sticking open. Problems too for the Peugeots. Rally leader Rovanpera picked up damage to a wheel early in the stage and knocked his car's steering out of alignment, while team-mate Gronholm completed the stage with a damaged front tyre. 5km from the finish, Subaru's Tommi Makinen hit a stone in the middle of the road, damaging his Impreza's front left wheel and damper. The Finn still posted the sixth fastest time and moved up to third overall. A hastily improvised repair using a rock wedged against the strut ensured that he made it back to the service area for expert attention.

SS9 1102hrs Phaselis 2 (15.49km)
Fastest time: Gronholm (Peugeot) 11:51.4

Despite starting SS9 with an 11 minute 9.9 second deficit, Gronholm proved that he had not yet given up the fight for points in the Rally of Turkey and negotiated his way through the tricky 15.49km test to take the fastest time. With much of the route's loose gravel cleaned away by the cars on the previous run through (SS3), the leading times were over 30 seconds faster than those posted on Leg one. His car back to 100 per cent following service, Subaru's Tommi Makinen pushed hard and set the second fastest time, with Rovanpera third. Icy patches on the first three corners did not prove problematic for the leading drivers, although Freddy Loix continued to be dogged by his Hyundai's throttle problem and the Belgian was forced to use his brakes and handbrake to control it. After the finish, cars moved directly to SS10.

SS10 1155hrs Myra 1 (24.01km)
Fastest time: Sainz (Citroen) 21:45.4

The twisty and technical Myra test left its mark on competitors and the rocky conditions shook up the overall leaderboard. Tommi Makinen was the first to fall foul of the conditions, when his car hit a rock while driving through a high speed downhill section. The impact ripped off a suspension-mounting bracket on the car's front right corner and caused extensive damage. The force of the collision was such that it knocked the car's ignition switch and Tommi had to restart the car. Despite losing almost a minute, Makinen was able to complete the test but, with one more stage to run before service, he was forced to tie together the broken components using the ratchet strap normally used to hold the spare wheel. Rally leader Harri Rovanpera was another to suffer on the rocky terrain, his Peugeot collected suspension damage in a similar incident. The Finn lost over seven minutes and the overall lead. Power steering problems caused Ford's Francois to lose eight seconds, allowing Burns to move into second overall. Carlos Sainz took the fastest time and at the end of the test led by 1 minute 2.6 seconds.

SS11 1258hrs Kemer 1 (20.30km)
Fastest time: Burns (Peugeot) 15:06.8

The final stage of a group of three run back to back, saw Richard Burns take his first stage win of the event. Colin McRae was second and moved into fourth overall, while Gronholm was third. Running in temperatures of 10ºC, SS11 was one of the fastest of the event. Starting with a fast 2km section through open fields, stage winner Burns recorded an average speed of 87.20kph in his 206WRC. Carefully judging his pace in order to reach the next service stop, Makinen drove cautiously. The wheel strap, which he attached to his Impreza after SS10, snapped 2km in, yet the Finn still ended in ninth place overall. Gilles Panizzi, driving in his Bozian Racing Team 206, lost almost a minute after leaving the road twice. Despite having trouble getting back on the road the second time, he remained fourth in the overall standings.

SS12 1501hrs Olympos 2 (20.44km)
Fastest time: Martin (Ford) 16:29.6

Ford's Markko Martin and Francois Duval stormed through the penultimate stage of the day to clinch the first and second fastest time respectively. Setting a time 13 seconds faster than his previous run through the 20.44km test (SS7), Ford's young gun Duval ate into Richard Burns 15.1 second lead and at the finish, just 4.2 seconds separated the pair. In what was becoming a rally to forget for the Peugeot team, Gronholm suffered a spin near the start, losing around 20 seconds, while Rovanpera dropped almost thirteen minutes behind the leaders after picking up a 1 minute 50 second penalty for arriving late to a time control. Carlos Sainz was third quickest and maintained the overall lead.

SS13 1544hrs Kumluca 2 (28.92km)
Fastest time: Sainz (Citroen) 24:27.1

Despite starting the stage with a 1 minute 5.6 second cushion, Carlos Sainz attacked from the outset and charged through to take the final win of the day, finishing 5.3 seconds ahead of Gronholm. His overnight lead on Burns increased to 1 minute 19.5 seconds. More bad news for Tommi Makinen though. Shortly after setting a competitive time at the first split, he hit a rock which broke the power steering 5km in and he dropped 1 minute 36.1 seconds. Problems too for Freddy Loix. Battling with a broken turbo from 5km in, the Belgian was forced to stop 3km from the finish and top up the engine oil in his Hyundai, losing over 6 minutes. SS13 also saw the end of the road for Rovanpera. After breaking a rear differential in the previous test and losing over seven minutes in SS10, the Finn was forced into retirement in SS13. He had previously been leading the event.

Team Quotes

David Lapworth, 555 Subaru World Rally Team Principal: "It seems to have turned into an event that will be decided by who's lucky with their accidents. Almost every crew has a story to tell and every car carries battle scars. Despite staying on the road today, Tommi has encountered a couple of rocks which have cost him dearly. The weather forecast for tomorrow isn't good. If rain falls as predicted then stages will be treacherous and there will be a lot more stories to tell."

Tommi Makinen: "Doing that last stage with no power steering was very hard indeed. Generally, the stages are alright with rocks here and there, but sometimes the conditions are very, very bad. Unfortunately, two little things have destroyed my chances for a win here in Turkey. The first incident (SS8) was not so bad, maybe we lost 30 seconds, but the last one was far more serious. Looking ahead the forecast is for rain and that's what I'm hoping for. "

News from Pirelli

Fiore Brivio, Pirelli Tyres Rally Manager: "Weather conditions were similar to yesterday, beginning frosty and becoming warmer later on, with temperatures ranging between 0ºC and 2ºC. The stage's surfaces were often rough with very large rocks. We are happy with the Pirelli Pzero K tyre option. If it rains tomorrow, as is forecast, it is likely that Tommi will opt for the KM tyre."

Technical Talk -- The Service Area Flat-Patch

We took a look at the flat patch platform in the 555 Subaru World Rally Team service area to explain what it's used for and why it's there--

* Set up using spirit levels, the 'flat patch' provides an area that is 100 per cent level. This is necessary to achieve accurate set ups of the team WRC cars, including the camber settings, corner weights, wheel alignment and suspension geometry. The ground in the service parks is never totally even

* Electronic scales on the flat patch lie under each wheel. These provide accurate readings of each corner weight and the overall weight of the Subaru Impreza WRC2003, so technicians can check that it's correctly balanced

* The technicians put ballast in the front of the car to take into account the weight of the drivers. The Subaru drivers and co-drivers exact weights are regularly monitored by Prodrive's Human Performance Department and communicated to the rally team

* While front and rear corner weights of the Impreza differ (front corners being heavier due to the weight of the engine), opposite corners of the car should be equal

* To re-adjust the balance of the car, technicians alter the damper platform height of each corner of the Impreza to amend the ride height and re-distribute the weight

* The flat patch is also used to check the camber settings of the wheels. To check these, the car is driven onto the patch, vertical bars are attached to the centre of each wheel and an electronic measuring device is held up against these to obtain an exact figure

* Made of aluminium and fully portable, the flat patch is used by the 555 Subaru Rally Team at each round of the WRC, including Sweden, where temperatures can be below freezing, and Greece, where temperatures can reach up to 40ºC

Tomorrow's Leg
Starts at 0700hrs, when the remaining competitors will leave Kemer parc ferme for the first service of the day. The shortest leg of the event, a final 84.01 competitive kilometres comprising five stages lie ahead, with the first test, the short Simena route, starting at 0801hrs. The event will conclude with another run through the 20.30km Kemer test, and the winning car is expected to cross the finish ramp in Kemer at 1523 hours.


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About this article
Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team