|Stages:||17 (312,44 km)|
- A mix of smooth open roads near rally base of Marmaris, combined with demanding rocky mountain tracks near Mugla.
- A street stage through the resort town of Marmaris kicks off Turkey’s first WRC round in eight years.
- Friday’s first full day journeys north-east towards Mugla for two identical loops of three tests. It’s a similar format on Saturday, but this time the route heads west of Marmaris.
- It’s incredibly compact with more than 134km of stages packed into a 306km itinerary.
- Sunday’s finale is equally pocket-sized. The four tests culminate in the Marmaris Power Stage, which ends at the entrance to the Asparan service park.
- We’re not sure, to be honest. But our spies suggest Saturday’s Datça test will be a cracker. Drivers might well compare the roads there to New Zealand. It winds around a mountain with the final few kilometres along the coast, offering stunning picture postcards backdrops to the sea.
- No previous experience of stages for either competitors or back-up teams
- Drivers and co-drivers must prepare pace notes from a blank piece of paper.
- Little opportunity to perfect car set-up ahead of the rally.
- Lack of knowledge of tyre performance and wear.
- Gravel suspension.
- On the rocky mountain roads, drivers may raise their car’s ride height to cope with rough conditions during the second pass.
- Both soft and hard compound tyres likely to come into play.
- Rally of Turkey was first held in 2000 and three years later it debuted in the WRC
- Carlos Sainz won the inaugural event based in Kemer, near Antalya.
- In 2010 the rally moved north to roads near Istanbul, in the Asian part of the country. It left the championship that year and 2018 marks Turkey’s first WRC fixture since.
- Sébastien Loeb tops the winners’ hall of fame with three victories. Citroën has four wins to its name.
What’s new for 2018
- Everything! The WRC has never previously visited this part of Turkey.
- Thursday night’s street stage in host town Marmaris. It runs alongside the picturesque marina and organisers are predicting crowds of about 20,000.
- 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 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!
- Marmaris is a Mediterranean port city and holiday resort on the Turkish Riviera. In September, temperatures will nudge 30°C so for those fans intending to go and watch, why not add on a few days for relaxation by the beach and pool?