|Stages:||17 (309.86 km)|
- One of the season’s toughest challenges. Searing heat and rocky gravel roads in the mountains of south-west Turkey place big demands on man and machine. A rally in which a smart strategy and avoiding problems is as important, if not more so, than outright speed.
Big crowds pack the resort town of Marmaris for Thursday evening’s short blast through the streets of the marina area.
A gruelling opening leg on Friday contains more than half the rally’s competitive distance at almost 161km.
It kicks-off with a revamped Içmeler test next to the service park before journeying north-east towards Mugla for two more stages. All three are repeated in the afternoon.
It’s a similar format on Saturday, but this time the route heads west of Marmaris. The new Kizlan test closes each loop of a compact day, which packs almost 118km of stages into a 346km 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.
- Saturday’s Datça test is a cracker. It’s only 8.75km but what it lacks in distance is more than made up for by incredible scenery. It winds round a mountain with the final few kilometres along the coast, offering stunning picture postcard backdrops to the sea.
The series’ slowest gravel round brings reduced airflow and places high demands on hot engines, transmissions and brakes.
Abrasive roads and high temperatures ensure a tough time for Michelin’s hard-working tyres.
Air temperatures well in excess of 30°C provide uncomfortable cockpit conditions for drivers and co-drivers.
- Gravel suspension.
- On the rocky mountain roads, drivers may raise their car’s ride height to cope with rough conditions during the second pass.
- Hard tyres are the preferred option, but medium compounds also play a part in drivers’ strategy.
- 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.
- Sébastien Loeb tops the winners’ hall of fame with three victories. Citroën has four wins to its name.
What’s new for 2019
- Saturday’s 17.00km Kizlan test, which promises stunning scenery as it hugs the coastline.
- The incredibly twisty Çiçekli test moves from Friday to Sunday and runs in the opposite direction to last year.
- 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!
- 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?