12 Jun 08
BP-Ford Team driver Jari-Matti Latvala was the pace-setter at this morning’s Shakedown test for the Rally of Turkey, leading a trio of Ford Focus World Rally cars to the three fastest times.
Gigi Galli of the Stobart Ford team was second quickest, with Latvala’s own team-mate Mikko Hirvonen third.
Most of the drivers attempted only a handful of runs through the 5km stage during the pre-event test session, which ran between 0800hrs and 1200hrs today.
Weather conditions were dry and bright with a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius as crews tackled the stage, 26km south of the rally’s service park in the town of Kemer.
Even though the stage will be run on the rally (in the reverse direction on Sunday as SS18) its close proximity to Kemer meant conditions were not truly representative of the majority of the event’s stages. “It was a fast but the road surface was soft and not as consistent as most of the stages in the mountains,” explained Chris Atkinson of the Subaru team. “The stage cut up quickly and there were a lot of rocks around. I think that’s why people didn’t do too many runs.”
Atkinson set the fourth fastest time and was the quicker of the two factory Subarus. His team-mate Petter Solberg managed a time just over a second slower, but had a problem on his second run when he broke a left-hand front track-control arm.
Toni Gardemeister completed just one run after suffering a transmission problem with his Suzuki SX4 WRC, while a hydraulic problem for the sister car of Per-Gunnar Andersson affected its gear-shifting.
Here are the times of the WRC crews at shakedown:
H. Solberg: 4:01.4
P. Solberg: 4:01.7