An entirely new course awaits drivers at the Rally of Turkey tomorrow.
Running in the Marmaris and Mugla regions, the organisers have prepared a compact and challenging event covering just 875km of which 312km make up the 17 special stages.
Tomorrow night’s start and street stage in the town of Marmaris will attract some 20 000 spectators before the cars head for the overnight halt.
The town of Asparan provides the central service park, just a few kilometres from the start. The 90 teams face a rally with no previous data as the entire course is new to the WRC crews.
With a mixture of smooth open roads, demanding rocky tracks and temperatures around 300 Celsius, the race, the 10th of 13 events on the calendar, could prove to be a game-changer.
With a 23-point lead in the driver’s championship, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville (172 points) will be looking to increase the gap to second place Sebastien Ogier (149 points) of Ford. Toyota’s Ott Tanak (above) is closing in on the leading pair and will be looking for a victory to keep his title chase alive, on 136 points.
Hyundai enters Neuville, Andreas Mikkelsen (65 points) and Haydon Paddon (34 points). Ogier is joined by Ford’s Elfyn Evans (52 points) and Teemu Suninen (42 points) for the M-Sport team.
Toyota field their usual line up with Esapekka Lappi (88) and Jari-Matti Latvala (55) joining Tanak. Citroen enter Mads Ostberg (48 points) and Craig Breen (47 points). The battle for the Constructor’s title is the one to watc.
With just four events remaining this year it can go any way.
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT have 254 points with a very determined Toyota Gazoo WRT just 13 points behind and on a high following several good results.
M-Sport Ford WRT are a further 17 points back with a comfortable gap over the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT (159 points).