M-Sport Ford World Rally Team revisits an old friend this week as the FIA World Rally Championship returns to Turkey – the home of Ford commercials including the Transit. The team secured one-two finishes at the event in 2006 and 2009, and is determined to deliver more Turkish delight this year.
M-Sport’s preparation was a 4-day test in Greece
The team also have the advantage of being able to choose between chassis and all three EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs will carry the original aero package. The upgrades carried on the leading Fiesta in Finland and Germany provided increased performance at high speed, but in Turkey – where the average speeds will be considerably lower – the team have the luxury of opting for proven durability.
“It’s been a long time since we last welcomed a brand-new event to the championship, and I’m sure we’re all in for an exciting weekend of rallying. While we have been to Turkey before, we’ve not visited this region and absolutely everything will be new to both the team and the crews”, Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said.
“We have no previous data from the stages. With the other events becoming more and more familiar, this is something completely different and it will be interesting to see who masters the challenge.”
“We’re hoping to do just that and both Sébastien [Ogier] and Elfyn [Evans] had two days of testing in Greece to best prepare for the challenges ahead. Sébastien may be hampered by his early running order, but both could be in with a chance of challenging for the top results.”
When the FIA World Rally Championship last visited Turkey, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were a month shy of claiming their maiden victory
Eight years later and the Frenchmen have 43 wins and five championship titles to their names.
“Rally Turkey will be an interesting event for sure as no one really knows what to expect. This is the first completely new event for a long time. It’ll be a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and to discovering what these new stages will be like”, Ogier explained.
“Our goal is to deliver the best possible result, but the loose gravel will make it a challenge. We’ll be the second car on the road and there will be a lot of fast drivers benefiting from a cleaner and faster road behind. We’ll need to try and stay as close as we can on Friday morning and then see where we are after that.”
“The most important thing is to score a strong haul of points for our championship defence, and that is what we will focus on.”
— Sébastien Ogier (@SebOgier) September 13, 2018
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt will face a brand-new challenge but their determination and will to succeed remains as strong as ever
“We’ll be taking a step into the unknown with a brand-new rally. I’m sure it will be an interesting weekend and I’m looking forward to discovering what the Turkish stages have to offer. For sure it will be hot, and we’ll need to be prepared for that. It also looks as though it could be quite loose which would give us a good road position for the first day; but it also has the potential to be fairly rough and everyone will need to have their wits about them”, Evans explained.
“We’re as prepared as we can be and I think we’re all looking forward to experiencing something completely new – where the aim is to be in the fight for the top positions.”
Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula did not participate in the pre-event test
But Suninen has proved himself a quick learner time and again.
“Whereas most of the rallies this year have been new only for me, this one will be new for everyone. That will make things really interesting and could bring me an opportunity as we will all be equal on experience before the first stage”, he commented.
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) September 13, 2018