What to expect from Rally Turkey this weekend

The WRC is back in action on some of the most abrasive roads of the season. David Evans previews the 'rally of survival'


Sunshine. That’s what to expect in Turkey. Lots of sunshine. And rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Surprises? Yep, lots of those too. Actually, the only surprise would be if a field full of factory cars arrived at Sunday’s Marmaris finish without any issues.

That won’t happen.

Rally Turkey’s one of the most technically complicated events of the season. It’s because of the sunshine. And the rocks.

In all honesty, this week’s fifth round of the World Rally Championship really isn’t a complicated affair. All the teams have to do is take the Rally Estonia cars from a fortnight ago and armor-plate them. Below deck, there’s more underbody protection than on any other rally of the season; onboard, there are more spare parts than any other event of the year.

This is a rally to survive. Yes, it’s 54 miles shorter in terms of competition than it was in 2019, but make no mistake, Rally Turkey’s teeth will be as sharp as ever this week.


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC

Friday’s where the mileage has been cut: the opening ‘day’ of competition is 85 miles shorter than last year. Saturday’s largely a cut and paste job with the same three stages repeated, the only difference being the loss of 1360 meters, with Yesilbelde 1.21km shorter and a further 150 meters lopped out of Kizlan. Otherwise, it’s the same day that pretty much ended Thierry Neuville’s 2019 championship aspirations after he fell off a wall in a dusty left-hander in Yesilbelde.

The sting in Sunday’s tail comes courtesy of the fearsome 24-mile Çetibeli stage – a memorable one for Ott Tänak who dropped a minute with a puncture second time through last year. Even more memorable for Kalle Rovanperä who had two deflations in his Škoda Fabia R5.

The final day this week means four stages and 55 miles, one of the longest Sundays in years. Certainly, one of the toughest.

And all of this in sunshine and 30 degrees. The only possible cloud on the horizon right now is a dip to 29 with the threat of some rain on Sunday. Rain on the final morning would add a serious splash of spice to an already decidedly piquant weekend.

Words:David Evans

Images:Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC