Turkey : Kronos Citroen WRT - Shakedown
For the Kronos team, the Rally of Turkey began in rather unusual and wet circumstances! Last night (Wednesday), as the team was finishing dinner, the skies started to lighten with thunder announcing a storm. Five minutes after the
first plate had been flown in the air by a brutal wind, all the team members were trying to hold onto the metallic body of the service area attached to the Gauloises motor-home. At the same time water flooded Kemer town. Ten minutes later and in the complete dark, mechanics and engineers were completely soaked and couldn't manage any more to handle the immense tent flying in the air. When the mini-tornado stopped to continue towards Antalya, they could only tried to save what was left of the material and parked the three Xsaras in the Rally HQ garage.
This morning skies remain very grey and threatening to rain in the Kemer area which has been watered quite a lot again today. “Almost a Scottish weather,” according a Colin McRae in top form. Located around ten kilometres from the service area, the shakedown uses the new special stage ‘Tekirova' but in the reverse direction.
Colin chose to recce the shakedown with his Xsara. The nr 1 car is a ‘new' one replacing the damaged one by Dani Sordo in Cyprus, while Dani uses the winning Xsara on the Aphrodite island.
The Scot was ready for the ‘opening' of the stage and completed two passages. “on that first loop, the ground wasn't as muddy as I imagined.
The road was really humid but not wet.”
Back in service Colin has asked for softer suspension. “Actually my feeling is good with the first set-up but I wanted to take profit of the shakedown to try a few things. Unfortunately, when I restarted, the terrain was rutted with big stones showing on the surface. I think it's ok. I feel at ease in the Xsara. Of course a day and a half in the Kielder Forest last week and five runs through this stage are a short preparation but we need to do with that. I hope that tomorrow I will quickly confident and then we'll see. Of course a podium would be fantastic…”
Dani Sordo's session was shorter than his team-mate's. The Junior World Champion started just behind Colin McRae and completed two runs before coming back to Kemer with a large smile. “My Xsara is perfect. Really fine. I don't see what I could change. He did one more lap two hours later and agreed with Colin regarding the conditions. The stage is destroyed, really. When I saw that, I didn't try, I simply drove to bring the car back.”
While Colin and Dani drove in the Kielder Forest (one with the Xsara and the other with a C4), Xevi Pons has undergone one day test on the Turkish ground. For the P2 drivers, the shakedown only starts at 10h30. He discovered a destroyed stage after the previous cars driving through. “It's incredible. There huge stones everywhere. Given the fact that I drove with the car three days ago, I was content with checking that everything was in order. Then I came back to preserve the car. “
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 Kronos WRT