The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has embarked on an all-new challenge on Rally Turkey, which got underway this evening with a street stage in Marmaris. That followed shakedown, which was the first opportunity to run the cars on the type of gravel stages that will be contested this weekend.
Shakedown took place on a 4.7-kilometre course close to the Asparan service park. All three Toyota Yaris WRC drivers completed three runs over the stage, with Jari-Matti Latvala finishing up third fastest, Ott Tänak fourth and Esapekka Lappi sixth.
Following a ceremonial start at Marmaris Marina, the crews took on a two-kilometre street stage. Here, Tänak was the fastest Toyota driver in third, with Lappi seventh and Latvala ninth. All three are within four seconds of the rally lead.
Tom Fowler (Chief Engineer)
“As we have not been here before, it was important to use shakedown to check the setup that we established in our pre-event test in Portugal. From the recce we have found that the stages are a little bit rougher than was previously anticipated, so we had to make some adjustments to get the cars a little bit higher. This went well: the drivers were very happy with the cars, the times were pretty good and there were no technical problems. This rally is going to be very tough for everybody and our focus is on reliability and endurance. It is one of the hotter rallies and we have been working hard on our cooling system. From testing we were already confident that we had resolved this, and shakedown increased our confidence with the temperatures running right down where we need them to be. With tonight’s street stage complete without issues, everything is ready for tomorrow.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“It was fascinating to see the stages for the first time in the recce: There are some nice roads as well as some that are really rough. I think it will be a very challenging rally and it will be more about endurance than speed. Already on the first run on the shakedown we had quite a big impact, so we set the ride height to the maximum and then we were working with the car around that to get some more stability. I think a lot of things will happen on this rally so it will be important to stay clean and calm, and that’s how we took the first stage as well.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It’s exciting to be here; it’s a very nice place to be and we have had a very nice welcome from the organisers. This was a normal opening stage without any problems. We have seen on the recce that the conditions will be very tough for the rest of the weekend, and shakedown this morning confirmed this. It looks like it will be an extremely difficult event, just as we were expecting. The feeling with the car was good on shakedown though. The reliability will be the most important thing, and a good feeling will help us to have a smooth run and a good result at the end of the rally.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“The first stage was fine for me, but it was very different to how the rest of the weekend will be. The car worked well on shakedown. On the first two runs we were really competitive. Then we came back to service, went out again and the conditions had changed quite dramatically. It will be tough job for everybody on this rally: you need to take care of the car and you need to take care of the tyre wear.”
End of day one (Thursday):
1 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2m03.9s
2 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +2.5s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2.8s
4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3.1s
5 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta R5) +3.1s
6 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +3.4s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3.5s
8 Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +3.9s
9 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4.0s
10 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4.3s
(Results as of 21:00 on Thursday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
On Friday the crews head north-east from the service park towards Mugla for a loop of three stages, run twice either side of mid-day service. The loop begins with the longest stage of the weekend, Çetibeli, which at 38.1 kilometres could already prove crucial to the outcome of the rally.
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