Turkey : Stobart M-Sport Ford - Shakedown
Stobart VK M-Sport drivers Matthew Wilson (Britain) and Kosti Katajamaki (Finland) got their first taste of what will be some of the toughest conditions in this year's World Rally Championship, at the Rally of Turkey shakedown this
The warm autumn sunshine which greeted the crews on the recce earlier in the week gave way, in sensational fashion, to heavy rain, gales and thunderstorms last night. As the service park was rebuilt following the extreme weather, the world's fastest rally drivers headed out of the event's host town of Kemer, on the Mediterranean coast, and up into the Anatolian mountains for the five-kilometre shakedown test.
The Focus RS WRC 05s of Wilson and Katajamaki performed faultlessly at what is the last chance for the drivers to make substantial changes to their car ahead of this evening's start. Both drivers completed five runs of the stage which was completed in cloudy, but dry conditions. This will be the first time Wilson, co-driven by Michael Orr, has competed on the Rally of Turkey; Katajamaki, co-driven by Timo Alanne, has tackled the event twice previously (2003, 2004) finishing second in the Junior World Rally Championship category on each occasion.
“We didn't do too much work on the car, really. It's running pretty similar to how it ended the last rally in Cyprus. The one thing we did do was stiffen up the anti-roll bar a little. This stopped the car rolling about as much as it was, and at the same time it helped with traction.
I was pleased with the times we did this morning, the stage was quite slippery first thing, but once everybody had been through a couple of times it was drying out. Or, most of it had dried out.
“There were still two corners we came through with full water right across the road, we had some aquaplaning there. From what I understand, this is what we're in for during the rally – really quite unpredictable conditions. That doesn't make it terribly easy for tyre choice; if we have a lot of rain then we want to cut the tyre to help shift the water, but if we do that then the tyre is going to move around a lot when the ambient temperature rises in the day – it's a real compromise. I'm sure it's going to be a tough event.”
“This is my last World Rally Championship outing of the season with the Stobart VK M-Sport team, so I'm very keen to end it on a positive note. We made some experiments with the car this morning, mainly working on the differential settings. I was happier with everything when the road started to dry out. This weather is not so good, it's hard to judge. It would be much better if we had full rain or dry all of the time. It's hard to say what the objective is for this event, all I know is that we need to be at the finish. Once we get into the rally then we'll know more about what we can do.”
Malcolm Wilson, Team Principal
“Both cars were fine this morning, nothing to report. The good thing about this shakedown is that it's very representative of what the boys will face on the stages – and the conditions were too. Luckily the road dried out quite a lot as the morning passed, so they did get a chance to see what will lie ahead if the sunnier weather returns.”
Rally of Turkey : Shakedown times
1. Petter Solberg, Subaru 4:01.6
2. Mikko Hirvonen, Ford 4:02.9
3. Marcus Gronholm
, Ford 4:04.5
4. Colin McRae, Citroen 4:05.1
5. Francois Duval, Skoda 4:06.9
6. Chris Atkinson, Subaru 4:09.6
7. Dani Sordo, Citroen 4:10.1
8. Harri Rovenpera, Skoda, 4 :10.4
8. Manfred Stohl, Peugeot 4:10.4
10. Xevi Pons, Citroen 4:10.5
11. Henning Solberg, Peugeot 4:12.1
12. Kosti Katajamaki, Ford 4:14.0
13. Andreas Aigner, Skoda 4:13.3
14. Matthew Wilson, Ford 4:17.2
Press release Stobart M-Sport Ford