Turkey debrief: part 2

We conclude our look back at last weekend’s Rally Turkey by spotlighting who endured a weekend to forget and focusing on one of the season’s most spectacular locations.

One to Forget
Turkey was the opportunity for Ott Tänak to lay a few fingers, if not one hand, on the drivers’ title. A 33-point pre-event lead meant another dominant result for the WRC’s man of the moment would leave rivals Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier with a mountain to climb.

Sadly for the Estonian it didn’t work out that way. Opening the roads handicapped him throughout Friday, a puncture cost more time and then ECU failure in his Toyota Yaris on Saturday morning sidelined him for the rest of the day.

He salvaged maximum bonus points from the Wolf Power Stage after an audacious gamble to run throughout Sunday morning with no spare wheel in a bid to save weight. But that 33- point lead was slashed to 17 as the message from Ogier was ‘hands off my trophy’.

You’ll Never Believe It
When Neuville tipped his Hyundai i20 onto its side in Saturday morning’s opening Yeşilbelde speed test, there was a feeling of dejà vu about it. Twelve months ago his hopes of a maiden title suffered a massive blow when his i20’s front left suspension mounting punched through the bonnet in the very same stage.

Surprise of the Rally
The WRC’s manufacturer teams clearly learned their lessons following carnage caused by Turkey’s rough gravel roads in 2018. There was only retirement among the headline World Rally Car entries – Tänak’s early exit on Saturday.

Stage of the Rally
Datça is Turkey’s signature stage. From a drivers’ perspective it offers a mix of great roads but it’s the stunning picture postcard views of the Mediterranean that really make it so special. The WRC visits some amazing locations and Datça (below) is up there with the best.

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