All three TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team drivers are inside the top seven at the end of the first full day on Rally Turkey. The all-new event has proved to be just as tough as expected, with the rough and rocky surface taking its toll on cars and tyres, but the Toyota Yaris WRC has stood up to the challenge. With all of the Toyota drivers avoiding major errors, Jari-Matti Latvala sits fourth overall overnight, with Ott Tänak in fifth and Esapekka Lappi in seventh.
After Thursday night’s rally-opening street stage in Marmaris, Friday consisted of two loops of three mountainous stages to the north. Latvala completed the morning in sixth position, and then set a strong time on the second pass of the 38.1-kilometre Çetibeli stage to move up to fourth. He completed the day 16.3 seconds away from the lead.
Following his back-to-back wins in Finland and Germany, Tänak experienced a tough morning but made up places during the afternoon and set the fastest time on the last test of the day, maintaining his record of claiming a stage win on every rally since joining the team at the start of 2018. It moved him up to fifth overall, with Lappi only a few seconds behind in seventh after coming second on both of the last two stages.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We faced some very tough conditions today and I think to have all three cars back in service this evening without any technical problems is very good. The drivers have all taken a good approach and the car has been strong. Setting the fastest time on the final stage was also good, and I’m sure that we can find the performance to keep doing that. Tomorrow is a new day and I have a feeling that everything is still possible on a rally like this.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“This morning started with a good time in the first stage even though there was a lot of dust in the air from the cars in front. I lost some time in the next stages but this afternoon was much better: The stages were very rough but I tried to be clever and focus on being consistent and not making mistakes. We end the day in fourth and only 16 seconds from the lead. Tomorrow the stages are in a slightly better condition than today and I feel good about our chances.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“The conditions in the morning were maybe not as bad as expected. It was just quite a lot of loose gravel and very low grip, and that’s one area we still need to work on. The afternoon was very tough but we could improve our position by avoiding any incidents. Then the last stage was quite smooth and there we had a good run. We are working really hard with the engineers to improve for tomorrow. We are still very eager to fight for the top positions and we are not far away.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“This morning was quite a struggle but we got through it without any issues. We knew that the stages would be rougher on the second pass, so we made the car stiffer in service to protect it more against the rocks. However, this meant that we had less grip and we lost a lot of time on the long stage as a result. Then I made a lot of changes on the road section and we got the grip back. I’m looking forward to tomorrow: Hopefully we can continue like we ended today. Everything can still happen, there are many kilometres to go.”
End of day two (Friday):
1 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1h52m28.2s
2 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +0.3s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2.6s
4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +16.3s
5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +31.9s
6 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +35.1s
7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.8s
8 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +50.1s
9 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m02.9s
10 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (Skoda Fabia R5) +6m52.0s
(Results as of 17:00 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Day three takes the rally west of Marmaris for a trio of stages each run twice either side of service. The Yeşilbelde and Datça stages will take in scenic coastal sections, followed by the İçmeler test that will run right past the service park.
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