Driver of the Rally
We are going to sit on the fence here – we can’t call it between Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans.
Anyone who wins more than half a rally’s stages deserves this accolade. Neuville won seven from 12 and bagged maximum points from the Marmaris Wolf Power Stage to just about keep his title hopes alive. He was by far and away the fastest driver of the weekend.
It takes more than just sheer pace to win on Turkey’s rocky mountain roads. Evans bagged only one stage (Sunday’s decisive Çetibeli test), but avoided trouble for the most part to deliver a victory that owed as much to what was going on inside his head as to the power under his right foot.
Rally Turkey gallery
One to Forget part 1
When Ott Tänak’s Hyundai i20 speared into the bushes on Saturday morning’s opening Yeşilbelde test after a steering problem, there were many who thought he was saying goodbye to his chances of retaining the drivers’ title.
We saw in Turkey how quickly things can turn and he’s not done yet, but to be 27 points off the lead at this point in the season after two retirements in five rounds is not ideal.
One to Forget part 2
There was no Turkish delight inside Sébastien Ogier’s Toyota Yaris either. As he drove away from the Asparan service park on Sunday morning, the Frenchman was on target for a podium which would have extended his championship lead.
Fast forward a few hours and he was a picture of dejection, sat roadside after engine failure in the second run through Çetibeli. He’s 18 points adrift of team-mate Evans and next month’s Rally Italia Sardegna (8 - 11 October) takes on huge significance for the six-time champ.
67 minutes that changed Rally Turkey
Stage of the Rally
If you like your WRC drama in spades, then Sunday morning’s opening pass through Çetibeli was the one for you. Cast your mind back to what happened in our in-depth analysis here.
Surprise of the Rally
Should we have been surprised? On reflection, of course not. We are, after all, talking about nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb.
His last appearance in a World Rally Car on dirt was back in late October last year. His previous rally was in January at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. And here he was, leading in Turkey after Friday’s opening leg at the age of 46.
There was a moment on Sunday amid the Çetibeli madness when it looked as though he might win, but third still represented a remarkable result.