Rally Turkey would be the first mixed surface rally of the year and many drivers have called the event tough. To further the difficulty, none of the drivers would have pace notes going into the event. The event has also seen the return of Ken Block and his Monster Energy/DC Ford Focus. After a very impressive run in Mexico, the pressure would be on to perform in Turkey as Ken continued to fact find ahead of next year’s championship. The day would come to a very early end however.
Sebastian Ogier leads the event after the first leg with a 5.5 second advantage over Citroen #2 Dani Sordo. Ogier would take the lead from Ford ace Mikko Hirvonen after stage 3 and would not look back for the rest of the day. Hirvonen who had one mistake on the first stage was able to recover and finish a reasonable third on the day 12.2 seconds off the lead but very much in the hunt.
Sebastian Loeb would struggle with grip as the current championship leader had the honor of sweeping the roads. The Citroen ace would finish the day fifth a mere 24 seconds back. We have seen this before however and you should know better than to count out Loeb and he probably has the competition right where he wants them.
Kimi Raikkonen performed pretty well today. This is the second straight event in which Kimi has actually performed reasonably well thus far and holds down the 8th position. The Finn has the advantage of a new event and some areas where will be dirt and asphalt. Look for the Finn to improve his times as they get into the road stages.
Henning Solberg and Ken Block would be dealt with in rapid fashion as the same tree stump would put an end to their rallies. The stump was located in a slow speed section on the opening stage and would snap the steering on both of the Focus WRC cars. Tough break for the American, but tomorrow brings a new day and the Monster team will be back on stage in an effort to claim experience.
Those are the major highlights of day 1 and we will look to have day 2 highlights and results posted tomorrow afternoon as the action concludes for the second leg.
1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 53m36.4s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen +2.8
3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford +9.2
4. Petter Solberg Citroen +18.3
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen +25.3
6. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford +26.1
7. Federico Villagra Ford +1:33.8
8. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen +1:48.0
9. Matthew Wilson Ford +1:57.6
10. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi +4:45.9