Turvey is a former co-driver and was an integral part of Richard Burns’ championship-winning team in 2001 as one half of the Briton’s gravel crew.
In his current role, Turvey drives the stages before the rally to identify those special locations. wrc.com asked him for his thoughts on Rally Argentina and what we should look out for over the four days of competition.
Q. Steve, what are the stages looking like this year?
ST: "There has been a reasonable amount of rain on most stages so despite the high temperatures of the last few days, the surface is damp in places, with soil and sand coming through. They should dry if there is no more rain, but the forecast suggests there may be thunderstorms over the next couple of days which would keep them damp."
Q. And what conditions are the roads in?
ST: "They are in normal condition for Argentina. Work has been carried out on some sections since last year’s rally, but some have had no attention. In my view this is the roughest round of the championship now. It’s rougher than the Acropolis Rally of Greece because there are big stones poking through the earth and it seems to become worse every year with the passage of the event. The early part of the El Condor stage is already cut up quite badly. It’s going to be very punishing for the cars, with many bumps, two-wheel landings and lots of big stones in the road that are already visible in the recce."
Q. What effect will all this have on the tyres?
ST: "Tyre wear is going to be punishing. Most stages are long, and each group of tests covers almost 80km of competition. Drivers must tackle each group with the same tyres with which they left service, so it will be hard for the rubber. I think each leg is equally tough, but perhaps the first day has the edge. The 52km test from Ascochinga to Agua de Oro is rough with lots of bed rock and that will test tyres to the extreme."
Q. So is pace going to be everything or could a more cautious approach pay dividends?
ST: "I wouldn’t say a driver can win by being cautious, but that tactic can certainly bring a good result. The leaders will have to drive flat out as always, but for someone like Martin Prokop, caution could pay off. I could see him being there with a chance of a top three result by keeping out of trouble."
Q. Argentina is renowned for its huge crowds and passionate fans. It really generates a great atmosphere doesn’t it?
ST: "It does – and this year will be no different. I drove the stages on Monday and there were already people camping out by the roadside in the El Condor stage. Some told me they had been there for two or three days already to ensure the best position. And the rally doesn’t go through there until Saturday!"