Sebastien Ogier leads the Rally of Turkey!
At the end of the first day of the Rally of Turkey, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia occupy first place overall. Kimi Raikkonen
and Kaj Lindstrom finish the first leg in eighth place with the Citroen Junior Team's second C4 WRC.
first day of the Rally of Turkey took the crews 50 kilometres to the north east of the service park, which was located in the Istanbul suburb of Pendik. The 98.42-kilometre competitive route, on the Asian side of Istanbul, took in two identical loops of four stages plus a spectator superspecial.
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were able to make their mark on stages that were new to all the crews this year. The French crew started off at a careful pace before increasing their speed to claim three fastest stage times. The former Junior World Rally Champion took the overall lead after SS3 and managed to hang onto it right up to the first overnight halt.
"We showed good pace all day," said Ogier, who is currently fifth in the drivers' championship standings. "This morning, I tried not to take any stupid risks. On the second loop I tried to stretch out a lead, but then we had a bit of a scare over a crest on SS8. Tomorrow, we're going to have to cope with mixed asphalt and gravel stages. We'll also see what effect our position of first on the road will have on our performance."
After scoring their first WRC points together on the Jordan Rally, Kimi Raikkonen
and Kaj Lindstrom started this fourth round of the World Rally Championship filled with confidence. The Finnish crew found a pace very close to that of drivers with much more experience, ending up eighth overall at the end of the day.
"I'm pleased with the speed that we were able to find at the end of the second loop," reported the winner of the 2005 Turkish Formula One Grand Prix. "We're making a lot of progress with the pace notes. This morning, we only made a few corrections to the notes over the course of the loop. I feel more and more confident, and this can be seen by our gap to the top drivers becoming gradually smaller. Tomorrow, we'll try to keep this same pace."
"It's the first time that the Citroen Junior Team is in the lead after a day of rallying," pointed out Citroen Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier. "Sebastien enjoyed a perfect day. He couldn't have done better. He pushed hard and consequently he's first tonight. Kimi kept up the pace that he finished the Jordan Rally with. He's swapping times with the other drivers and constantly making progress. Both our drivers were also very pleased with their cars. Now we need to continue like this tomorrow."
Eight stages are on the schedule for the longest day of the Rally of Turkey tomorrow, totalling 145.82 competitive kilometres. By virtue of leading the event, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will be first on the road.