PREVIEW: 2019 FIA World Rally Championship – Rally Turkey: Will Tänak Continue His Domination?

by Steven Batey

It might have been a different surface in Germany, but that didn’t stop Ott Tänak from claiming another victory, his fifth so far in 2019, in the FIA World Rally Championship.

So now with a 33-point lead at the top of the Championship Standings with four rounds remaining, the question is, can anyone halt the Toyota drivers run to his first Drivers title.

Well the series does return to gravel for this weekend’s event, so road position could come into play after his victory last time out. Although, with such a substantial lead, does he need to go all out in a bid for his fifth win in six events?

Round 11 of the championship has 17 stages on its itinerary with scorching heat high on the agenda for the teams this weekend. That mixed with several tight, twisty stages pushes both the cars and crews to the limit.

Beginning with an opening super special on Thursday evening in Marmaris, the rally then takes in more than half of its total stage miles throughout Friday which includes the 38km Çetibeli test.

Saturday sees the crews head West from their base as they run on stages including the daunting Datça. It might be short at only 8.75km, but is one of the most difficult tests on the calendar.

The final day of the event features four more stages including two runs again near Marmaris, near the service area, with the second becoming the rally ending Power Stage.

Neuville is now second in the Drivers Standings. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Thierry Neuville, now second in the standings after leapfrogging arch-rival Sebastien Ogier will be on a mission to stop the Estonian from running away with the title. He and Ogier both know time is running out if they are to somehow overhaul Tänak’s lead.

Kris Meeke’s second place finish in Germany has pushed him into fourth in the title standings, although a huge 85 points behind Ogier. The battle for the position couldn’t be closer however as Andreas Mikkelsen sits just one point adrift with both drivers looking to pull away from Jari-Matti Latvala as Elfyn Evans, currently sixth, again sits out as he makes sure he is 100% fit for his home event on Wales Rally GB next month.

Tidemand makes his first appearance since Rally Sweden. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

With Evans’ M-Sport Ford Fiesta again vacant, the Cumbrian team have given Pontus Tidemand another chance to impress in the highest level of the WRC after he competed on the opening pair of events in Monte-Carlo and Sweden with the team. He lines up alongside Teemu Suninen in the two cars with Dani Sordo in the third Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC competleing the WRC entries this weekend.

WRC2 PRO/WRC2: Greesnsmith Returns to the PRO Fold

Kalle Rovanperä leads the class going to Turkey. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Gus Greensmith will finally return to the WRC2 PRO class in Turkey after his extended run in the Fiesta WRC following Elfyn Evan’s back injury which ultimately gave the young British driver a trio of appearances at the sports highest level.

For Turkey however, he returns to his more familiar WRC2 surroundings as he makes his compeative debut in the MK8 Fiesta R5 that Eric Camilli had been driving in the last few rounds of the championship including last time out in Germany.

He returns to the class hoping to make ground on class leader Kalle Rovanperä and Mads Ostberg; the Norwegian in second place in the standings is not entered this weekend. Along with Greensmith and Rovanpera, Jan Kopecký continues his run of appearances in the second Skoda Fabia R5 EVO.

WRC2 meanwhile is missing the top four in the championship in Turkey, with Kajetan Kajetanowicz the highest placed driver set to compete. 13 drivers are on the entry list and include Henning Solberg, Marco Bulacia Wilkinson and local drivers Burak Cukurova, Murat Bostanci and Bugra Banaz.

Rally Turkey begins this evening and continues throughout this weekend.

Related articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More