Day 2 of the grueling Rally Turkey has ended and as we said yesterday, don’t be surprised if Sebastian Loeb charges to the front. That is exactly what the Frenchman has done, but it is still wide open heading into the third day.
The day started with Sebastian Ogier holding first position on the road. Usually that means road sweeping and with the large rocks on the road he would surely yield his position quickly right? Wrong…the junior ace was a rocket today as the cars hit the tarmac/gravel stages and Ogier would continue to lead the pack late into the day. Sebastian would hit trouble however on SS15 when he hit a rod on stage which blew a tire and pitched him off stage. Luckily the Frenchman only fell to fifth place but very tough luck considering he ran with amazing pace as first on the road. Six time champion Sebastian Loeb would take the lead and hold it until the end of the second day giving him a 16.2 second lead over Petter Solberg. Loeb would attempt to utilize tire strategy early as he and the other Citroen factory aces would run on slightly worn tires to take advantage of the asphalt. The tactic would work and the team would switch to fresh rubber in the afternoon which gave all of the Citroens a very blistering pace. Solberg looks really good heading into the final sprint of the event. The Norwegian has had a run of good podium finishes and looks to keep the streak alive tomorrow if not even challenge for a victory against Loeb.
Factory Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen is in third position a mere 1.1 seconds off of Petter Solberg. However the Finn will be going it alone for Ford as Jari-Matti Latvala in classic fashion rolled his Focus in the middle of the day. The roll would drop Latvala out of the top ten and out of contention. Another brutal weekend for the Ford team as a whole.
Kimi Raikkonen would end the day in sixth place which is shocking given the Finn’s early season crashfest. Sixth place is the best Kimi has ever run in a rally car and he will be looking to gain a position or two before the event is over. Not such a good day for his media circus counterpart as Ken Block would drive his Focus into a bank on the final stage of the day. On an encouraging note however, the American was setting very quick times while on stage and also ran times in the top 10.
So day 3 is set for a thrilling finish and it will be interesting to see if the same tactics that ruined Rally Jordan will appear this Sunday. The roads are fast and sweeping tactics will be slightly less relevant, but it will be interesting to see how the teams play it. Solberg looks really good to take his first victory in a rather long time but as we seen today, first on the road was still very fast and held the lead for much of the day. Mikko will need to be very careful as one false move will see the Ford team end the event with no points. Keep it here for day 3 highlights tomorrow afternoon.