Sébastien Ogier extended his Rally Turkey lead over Citroën Racing team-mate Esapekka Lappi in Sunday morning’s short opening speed test.
Stage info: SS14
SS14: Marmaris 1, 7.05km
It’s a unique start for Sunday’s opener – a winding run through big concrete barriers at a bus station car park! Reality returns as the test reverts to gravel for a 2km climb on a rough, twisty and narrow road. It remains technical as it descends before speeds rise and the roads become smoother and more flowing. The finale brings competitors to within touching distance of the service park.
Ogier, who headed his Citroën C3 colleague by 0.2sec overnight, eased through the 7.05km Marmaris test next to the Asparan service park to stretch his advantage to 5.7sec with three more special stages remaining.
With a comfortable lead over their rivals behind, Ogier and Lappi have no desire to attack each other through today’s pocket-sized finale.
“I didn't push enough to really have a feeling. The only time we need to be fast is in the second pass for the Power Stage. I don’t know if it is possible, but I will go for as many points as I can,” said Ogier, who was fifth fastest.
Lappi was happy to defer to his title-chasing colleague. “Very cautious. We will just be safe,” said the Finn.
Andreas Mikkelsen increased his margin over Teemu Suninen in their fight for third. The Norwegian was second fastest in his Hyundai i20 to stretch the margin to 13.4sec over an unhappy Suninen.
“I’m disappointed with that time. I couldn't get the traction and I did one small mistake,” said the Ford Fiesta pilot.
Tyre choice has been a major talking point all rally and it was again this morning – for a very different reason.
With no chance of a top 10 points-paying finish after yesterday’s retirement, championship leader Ott Tänak opted not to take a spare wheel onboard his Toyota Yaris. His aim was to save vital weight in an all-out attack for maximum Power Stage bonus points in this afternoon’s rally-closing test.
“Gambling what? I guess gambling zero points is not so much to gamble,” said the Estonian, who was fastest in what was effectively a high-speed practice run over the roads that will be driven again later.