Rally Turkey winner’s insight

Last year’s Rally Turkey winner Orhan Avcioglu says crews will have to be ‘smart’ if they want to be successful at this week’s all-new WRC round (13-16 September).

Avcioglu (pictured above) won the Marmaris-based rally by more than six minutes in 2017 when it was a round of the Turkish championship. He has given a first-hand description of the hurdles WRC crews will face.

“The biggest challenge will come from the nature of the stages themselves. They kick off with a 38km stage (Çetibeli). It’s a mammoth stage and I have experience of that test in different formats. I know it’s going to be a big challenge,” he explained.

“Marmaris is a bit of a game where you need to play it really, really smart. You need to identify which stages and sections you can push on, and where you need to be careful, wary of the rocks and take care of your car.”

Teams have been testing in Portugal, France and Greece to prepare for the rough gravel stages they expect to encounter. But Avcioglu still believes the WRC crews will be able to show their performance.

Turkey's stage mix rough with smooth

He said: “Last year it was a fairly smooth rally and only some parts were similar to the Acropolis Rally. The other parts were fairly smooth, and the gravel was quite welcoming. It enabled us to attack the road.”

Avcioglu, who drove a Skoda Fabia R5 to success last year, says the road conditions will present the teams with various set-up challenges as they prepare their cars for the 17-stage itinerary.

He suggested: “In my opinion it’s going to be a balance between keeping the ride height as low as possible to keep the stability, without compromising the strength of the car by having it banging all around.

“On the second passes these World Rally Cars are absolute monsters, so they tear up the stages. I’m sure there’s going to be ruts that the crews will need to deal with.”

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Turkey, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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