Turkey : Citroen / JWRC - Preview
As the eighth and penultimate round of the busy 2006 JWRC calendar, the Rally of Turkey will once again see the Juniors' two-wheel drive machinery in action as it did in 2003 and 2004. Inasmuch as its debut on the world scene only dates
back to 2005, this means the C2 will be sampling the heat and humidity of southern Turkish for the very first time.
Five C2s have been entered for the event, namely four C2 Super 1600s and the fledgling C2- R2 which made its world class debut in Finland last August. PH Sport, which counts two previous visits to Kemer under its belt (2003 and 2004), will run the Super 1600 cars of Kris Meeke/Glenn Patterson and Julien Pressac/Jack BoyŤre, as well as the C2-R2 of Fabien Fiandino/Sabrina de Castelli.
The car of Czechs Martin Prokop/Jan TomŠnek will be tended by their own operation, Jipocar Racing, while Germany's Aaron Burkart/Tanja Geilhausen, whose programme skipped Rally Finland, will once again sport the colours of PRT (Prinz Rallye Technik).
World Rally Car chassis engineers catalogue the Rally of Turkey as a 'rough gravel' round which features relatively soft stages that enable buried rocks to become increasingly exposed with each passing car. As in Sardinia last May, the JWRC runners can consequently expect a particularly tough ride.
"I know the Turkish stages quite well," says the Technical Manager of CitroŽn Sport's Customer Competition Department Alexis Avril who was the chassis engineer for Colin McRae's Xsara WRC in 2003 before doing the same job with Carlos Sainz the following year. "That said, we didn't compete here last year with the C2 Super 1600 so, following our usual pre-event test, we decided to prepare a range of set-up options."
As is sometimes the case when the going gets this rough, the outcome could well depend on the lottery regarding punctures. But reliability also promises to play a big role and the survivors at the finish will not necessarily be those who emerge as the front-runners early on. The key question all the Juniors face is how to drive as quickly as possible without denting the car's performance potential?
CitroŽn will clearly be pinning its main hopes on Kris Meeke. The Ulsterman has led all the rounds he has contested so far in 2006, has claimed the highest number of stage wins and also tops the so-called 'sprinters' standings.
"The only option Kris really has is to go for victory," believes CitroŽn Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton. "He needs to win, both for the championship and also to continue showcasing the competitiveness of the C2 Super 1600. He needs to finish, and in first place. I would also like to see Julien Pressac finally bag the podium result that has tantalisingly eluded him so far and see Fabien Fiandino follow up his performance in Finland by showing off the C2-R2's balance, speed and reliability all the way to the flag."
With more and more teams and drivers showing an interest in its latest challenger, CitroŽn Sport's Customer Competition Department has decided to take a second C2-R2 to Turkey for display in the Kemer service park.
Press release Citroen