Tommi happy with Turkey prep
Toyota Gazoo Racing boss Tommi Mäkinen believes his squad has can done all it can to maintain its double title push in the heat and rough roads at next week’s Rally Turkey (13 - 16 September).
Pre-event testing in Turkey, returning to the WRC for the first time since 2010, is banned so the team journeyed to southern Portugal to replicate the road characteristics and temperatures above 30°C that are expected at the 10th round.
“We have been preparing as well as we possibly can. We had a good test last week in the south of Portugal, where hopefully we simulated the conditions that we will face very well, especially the high temperatures,” said Mäkinen.
High temperatures have been something of an Achilles’ heel for the Yaris World Rally Car and Ott Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi had to carefully manage their engines in similarly high temperatures in Mexico in March.
The Japanese manufacturer was the form team at the previous rounds in Finland and Germany. Two wins for Tänak and third places for Latvala and Lappi have promoted Toyota into challenging positions in both championships.
It lies just 13 points adrift of Hyundai Shell Mobis in the manufacturers’ standings, while Tänak has emerged as a genuine contender for the drivers’ crown alongside leader Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier.
“The last two rallies have been brilliant for us and our aim is of course to continue in that way, but there are many unknowns about Turkey for every team because it is a new rally,” added Mäkinen.
The Finn drove for Subaru when Turkey debuted in the WRC in 2003 at a location further east than this year’s Marmaris base. He recalls a gruelling event in which only 27 of the 62 starters finished.
“I remember the conditions were very hard and the roads were pretty rough, but we’re going to a different area this time and we don’t know exactly what the nature of the stages will be,” he added.
Turkey: A step into the WRC unknown
New route presents a fresh challenge
Meeke back in rally action
Ulsterman to appear at Rallylegend
Turkey countdown: 2010 Rewind
Revisiting the WRC’s last event on the Turkish stages