18 Jun 08
Unsurprisingly in Turkey, where the roads are not as rough as those in Greece, the team's same cautious approach didn't produce another podium. Instead Petter Solberg finished sixth, while Chris Atkinson was 13th. But even though he hadn't been able to repeat his earlier result, Solberg remained resolutely upbeat about what he and the team had achieved.
"To be honest with you I'm very pleased," he said. "First of all with the reliability of my car, we had just a couple of things, but everything else has been okay. I took care of it, not taking big cuts, driving around the rocks, that sort of thing. I know it's quite early days, so I didn't want to risk anything, but I think the engineers know exactly where to work now, with the car and the chassis. We still have some work to do to make it fast on every stage, but to improve this car will be quite easy I think."
Like on the previous event, Atkinson's rally Turkey proved more dramatic that it had been for Solberg, and the Australian encountered more development glitches than his team-mate. Atkinson retired from the rally's opening day with broken front suspension, and suffered with electrical and hydraulic issues following his return as a Superally entry.
"Okay, it's obviously disappointing to have had the small delays that we encountered but the team is learning about the car all the time," said Atkinson. "As a driver my plan was to make no mistakes and I did that. The things that happened to me were out of my hands, it was just bad luck. But we're out there testing so it works well."
As the team prepared to head back to Banbury, technical director, David Lapworth, said he was happy with the progress made so far. "We've successfully completed the first stage of our development programme," he said. "Our target was never to come to Turkey and mix it with the Ford and Citroen teams; we'll save it for the second half for the year. We are in a very good position to really take advantage of the season break and accelerate the second phase of the programme, which is using the competitive experience we now have with the car to improve it step-by-step."