We continue our build up to the return of Rally Turkey (13-16 September) by trawling through the WRC history books to retrace Sébastien Loeb’s journey towards his third Turkish victory the last time the event was held in 2010. Here’s how things unfolded…
Friday 16 April
Citroën Junior Team driver Sébastien Ogier was the surprise leader at the end of day one as he secured a trio of stage victories in his C4.
The Frenchman made the most of a relatively poor road position to finish 5.5sec ahead of Dani Sordo in a second C4.
Third-place Mikko Hirvonen led for a stage after setting the fastest time on SS2 but the Finn struggled to match the pace of the Citroëns in his Ford Focus WRC.
Petter Solberg held fourth place in a C4 entered by his own team. The Norwegian won the first stage but couldn’t maintain a consistent pace on the tricky gravel roads.
Saturday 17 April
Ogier maintained his lead through the morning loop, but a puncture caused him to run off the road on SS15. He made it to the end of the stage, but losing almost three minutes relegated him to fifth.
Ogier’s misfortune, combined with a big push in the afternoon, allowed Loeb to move up from fifth to first. He ended the day with a 16.2sec lead.
Solberg enjoyed a trouble-free day as he came through to finish second, 1.1sec ahead of Hirvonen, who lamented his lack of pace on the asphalt sections in the stages.
Sordo slipped to fourth after he lost time with a delaminated tyre in the 27.17km Riva test.
Sunday 18 April
Wet weather made for a different challenge on the final day, but Loeb emerged untroubled from the slippery stages as he won four tests in a row to claim the 57th WRC victory of his career.
The reigning champion finished 54.5sec ahead of Solberg who, despite an overnight differential change, couldn’t match his rival’s blistering pace.
Hirvonen struggled through SS20 after a punctured tyre – that later delaminated – conspired to fill the cockpit of his Focus with dust. He finished third.
Sordo also suffered misfortune on the final day as he was caught out by the mud on the Deniz test and slid off the road. That promoted Ogier to fourth and allowed former F1 world champion Kimi Räikkönen to secure a career-best fifth.