After the fast and smooth stages of Rally Estonia, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team faces a very different test on the rough and rocky roads of Rally Turkey for the next round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship on September 18-20. After a podium finish when the WRC season restarted in Estonia last week, Sébastien Ogier continues to lead the drivers’ standings ahead of his team-mate Elfyn Evans with Kalle Rovanperä in fourth, while Toyota remain at the top of the manufacturers’ championship.
Based in the coastal resort of Marmaris, Rally Turkey features some of the toughest terrain in the WRC, with the rocky gravel surface and high temperatures combining to create demanding conditions for the cars. The relatively slow average speeds can add to the complexities, reducing the airflow available to cool the engines, transmissions and brakes.
This year’s Rally Turkey begins on Friday evening (following shakedown in the morning) with the İçmeler and Gökçe tests. That is followed on Saturday by a full loop of three stages to the west of Marmaris, repeated following midday service. Sunday features the longest stage of the rally – the 38.15-kilometre Çetibeli – plus the shorter Marmaris test, both run for a second time after a final service break.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“Rally Turkey is a very demanding event with really tough road conditions. It is true that it has not been our strongest event up until now, even though we won there in 2018 when it was new for everybody. However, we have been doing a lot of work since last year’s event, concentrating on improving our package for conditions like those that we face in Turkey. We know that our car is now much better in these conditions compared to last year and I think that we can be confident of a good rally.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“I obviously have some good memories of Turkey from last year when Julien and I won the rally. To repeat this result this time is not going to be easy: It is a tough rally for everybody, but for us opening the road it will be especially challenging I’m sure. But I’m actually excited to see what we can do with the Yaris WRC. We had some very good tests recently to prepare for the event, and I believe we have definitely made some improvements and some steps forward with the car, so let’s see what we do.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“Rally Turkey is always a difficult event and it will be quite a stark contrast to the fast roads that we had in Estonia: It’s a lot more slow-speed and a different character altogether. It is sure to be very hot and very physically demanding for the crews, and also very demanding on the cars. We need to be ready to adapt to that. We did some testing in Greece a few weeks ago to prepare and the car felt pretty good, so we hope that will transfer to a good feeling on the rally.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“The roads in Turkey are very rough and I think that these conditions are generally quite difficult for me: I haven’t done so many rallies like this yet in my career, although I did do Rally Turkey last year in WRC2 so I have a little bit of experience of what the rally is like. It seems that the team has made a very big step from last year with the car and I think we should be better now in these types of conditions. I hope that we can all show good pace there.”
What happened last year?
Ott Tänak won the Power Stage in Turkey in 2019 to claim crucial points towards his eventual championship success, having had to retire from the second leg of the rally on Saturday. Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke finished sixth and seventh respectively overall after both lost time in heavy rain on Friday.
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