Rally Turkey (15 18 April 2010) Presentation
Citroen and Loeb out to score a hat trick!
Rally Turkey, which is back on the WRC calendar, has turned over a new leaf with a route laid out near Istanbul. Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena, winners of the event in 2004 and
2005, have but a single aim in mind, a third victory on the trot to increase their lead in the Drivers' World Championship. The Citroen Total World Rally Team topping the Manufacturers' classification since Rally Jordan, can also count on Dani Sordo and Marc Marti who are still after their first 2010 finish on the podium.
Rally Turkey, which has been on the Rally World Championship calendar five times since 2003, has moved to Kemer near Istanbul for the 2010 event. It will be held mainly on the Asiatic continent with the stages and the service park in the Pendik district grouped together on the peninsula bordered by the Marmara sea, the Bosphorous and the Black Sea.Sebastien Loeb
always loves the challenge posed by a new route and Rally Turkey should suit him down to the ground: "I've heard that the stages are fairly wide and quick so driving should be great fun. I also know that there are forty kilometres in asphalt on the second day. Obviously, our C4 WRCs will have gravel tyres but we didn't have too many problems with this combination in Cyprus last year. As it's a question of mixed stages, we'll have to find the right rhythm when passing from one surface to the other."
Second in Sweden, victorious in Mexico and Jordan, the six-time world champion already has a 25-point lead over Jari-Matti Latvala, his closest rival, so he's feeling confident about the fourth round: "Twenty- five points equals a victory. It's always good to have an ace up your sleeve but the way the 2009 season panned out, reminded us that you can't lose any points along the way. We're going to start the rally with the firm intention of winning. As championship leaders we'll be first out on the road again on the first day, but we'll just have to see how important a role sweeping's going to play in this event."
Dani Sordo's fourth place in Rally Jordan gave Citroen the lead in the Manufacturers' World Championship. In Turkey, the Spaniard will be aiming for a place on the podium: "After a couple of disappointing rallies in terms of results, it was important to boost my confidence. That's what we did in Jordan with a few good times. At the end of the rally we opted for caution as the points for fourth place were vital for the team. I now want to take advantage of my new-found confidence to go for my first podium of the season. I'm sure that the C4 WRC will be very quick on this type of terrain." Marc Marti is the only member of the team to have taken part in all the Turkish rallies. In 2003, he won the first event with Carlos Sainz (Citroen Xsara WRC).
Three questions to Sebastien Loeb
The 2010 season's got off to a good start for you with a second place and then two victories. You've already built up a good lead...
That makes me smile as some said that my second place in Sweden showed a drop in motivation on my part! Just so as there's no misunderstanding, I have no intention of stopping the clock at fifty-six victories. What's interesting is that the 2010 season doesn't boil down to a duel between Mikko Hirvonen and me. There's also Jari-Matti Latvala, who now seems able to combine speed and consistency, as well as Petter Solberg and Sebastien Ogier. They'll all able to fight at the front and that includes Dani too. For the moment that plays in my favour but it could also make my job more difficult."
Rally Turkey is being held on a new route. What does that change for you?
"I'm going to have to concentrate a lot more during reconnaissance. When we've got our old notes and the route hasn't changed all that much in relation to the previous event, I know where the major traps and bumps are and I don't have to worry too much. In this case, we just fine-tune the details. When we reconnoitre a stage for the first time it's a lot more complicated. At 70 km/h (NB: in reconnaissance, the speed is limited and checked by GPS), I have to try and imagine at what speed we'll arrive there in the race to note the corners and the bumps. First time through in the rally we always give ourselves a bigger scare than usual! So it's preferable to allow yourself a bit more leeway and then correct the notes for the second run."
Once again sweeping will be a sore point ...
"Yes, and I don't like that very much. It's a shame that all the attention is focused on this aspect rather than on the battle between the crews. My point of view hasn't changed for over two years. I think that reversing the running order of the first fifteen on the second and third days is the best solution. There are no calculations to be made and everybody has to push from start to finish. The idea of using the shakedown as a form of qualifying to allow the drivers to choose their starting order makes sense too. Whatever! I just hope that the FIA will soon modify the regulations to give everybody a level playing field."