Intense heat and rocky mountain gravel roads packaged around stunning coastal scenery combine to make Rally Turkey (12 - 15 September) arguably the toughest fixture in the FIA World Rally Championship.
• Thursday night’s street stage in the picturesque marina area of Marmaris. It features roundabout donuts, a jump and tight hairpin bends – as well as big crowds!
• The Asparan service park is the rally hub. It’s just a few kilometres from Marmaris and within easy (and we mean easy!) access of several stages.
• Sunday’s Wolf Power Stage. The Marmaris test starts in the town of Içmeler and finishes in the service park. Perfect for watching the action and joining in the victory celebrations.
• Several stages run alongside the sea, guaranteeing jaw-dropping TV and All Live footage of the coastline. Unless, of course, you are there and then you can see for yourself!
The special stages in south-west Turkey are predominantly technical and twisty, meaning there is reduced airflow to cool hard-working crews inside the car, and a similar lack of air to ease the stress on brakes, transmission and engines in the baking heat.
The bustling resort of Marmaris hosts this 11th round of the season. The streets around the marina usher in the opening action on Thursday evening as big crowds gather to enjoy the donuts, hairpins and jumps of the Marmaris Meydan (2.00km) sprint test.
Life becomes considerably tougher for competitors on Friday as the gruelling opening leg contains more than half the event’s competitive distance at 159.14km.
It kicks off with a lengthened Içmeler (24.85km) next to the service park, before journeying north-east towards Mugla for Çetibeli (38.15km), the longest and most difficult stage of the weekend, and Ula (16.57km). All three are repeated in the afternoon after service at Asparan.
Saturday follows a similar format, but this time the route heads west of Marmaris and packs 110.10km into six tests.
Yeşilbelde (33.00km) provides a tough start but amazing coastline views, before the Mediterranean scenery becomes even more dramatic in the following Datça (8.75km), which features pretty much everything you can find in the rest of the rally in one stage.
The new Kizlan (13.30km) promises to be the fastest test of the event, after which crews head to service before tackling the trio all over again.
Sunday’s finale is pocket-sized, with 38.62km spanning four tests. Marmaris (7.05km) bookends the leg and ends at the entrance to the service park, with the second pass forming the Wolf Power Stage and offering bonus points to the fastest five drivers.
In between are single passes through the revamped Gökçe (11.32km) and the tortuously twisty Çiçekli (13.20km), which is driven in the opposite direction to last year.
The 17 stages add up to 309.86km. With only 676.42km of liaison, the total distance comes in at less than 990km, with almost a third of the route competitive.