The two-stage Friday itinerary in Turkey is followed by six competitive runs on Saturday, and the first time the frontrunning World Rally Championship drivers will encounter rutting as repeat trips are made through the stages.
Dust is also expected to be a major issue, which is sure to lead to a dramatic day of action. Here is a guide to each of the stages on Rally Turkey’s second day.
SS3/6 Yeşilbelde (19.75 miles)
In the nicest fashion possible, an awful lot of people will be very, very pleased to see the back of Yeşilbelde on Saturday afternoon. Which stage was it that claimed Craig Breen’s car in a fierce fire two years ago? This one. Which stage was it where Yazeed Al Rajhi’s car set fire to the hillside? Yup, same. And it’s here that Thierry Neuville’s event has gone south for the last two years.
This stage, which runs to the same format as last year save for a mile of quick stuff off the start, never fails to provide action. And it’s not hard to see why. The first half of the stage is just twist after turn after twist, with a couple of climbs and tricky downhill sections in there for good measure.
After a while the stage turns into the trees, which is where the dust could become a real issue. Out of the woods the cars head for the sea and run along the coast to the finish. It’s a toughie to open the weekend action.
SS4/7 Datça (5.43 miles)
This one really has a bit of everything. Off the start, it’s quite fast and flowing between the replanted forests with stunning views across the mountains, but then as the road heads towards the coast it gets twistier and more complicated.
When you get to the seaside, it’s absolutely stunning, but loose as heck. There are less of the very big rally-wrecking rocks in the event’s second shortest stage. If spectators were allowed on this rally and I were a spectator, I’d bring a boat, anchor it in the bay and enjoy the view.
SS5/8 Kizlan (8.17 miles)
New for last year, this will be the fastest stage of the weekend as it flashes between two coastlines. The road’s wide, quick and complete with a couple of jumps – but the surface is hard and bedrocky. In the middle there is a more tentatively twisty section in the forest, with a narrow road which will really break the flow. And, coming at the end of the loop, the tires will be nearly finished.