By Beyza Binnur Donmez
Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen shared the fastest time, 2:02.6, at the opening Super Special Stage (SS1) on Thursday night.
While the second place holder of the championship battle Neuville said that he did a “good” stage with pushing “really hard”, his team mate Mikkelsen said that he could do better.
The special leg took place at Marmaris’ marina area while a huge crowd was cheering for the drivers. Racers competed on the 2 kilometers-long (1.2 miles) asphalt surface ahead of Friday’s dusty sections and challenged by the narrow stage that features roundabouts, a jump and tight hairpin bends.
The six-time consecutive World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier took fourth place, with +1.7 seconds to the leading time. Morning’s warm-up stage winner Kris Meeke stayed 0.3 second behind of Ogier.
The championship leader Ott Tanak was surprisingly lacked 4.2 seconds and completed the opening leg at seventh spot.
Starting with a drivers’ parade that featuring some beautiful classic cars and a spectacular firework show, SS1 ended with WRC2 drivers’ performances. Drivers also held an autograph session for the thousands of fans pre-event.
The rally action will continue in full speed with Friday’s six stages, which include the longest stage of the weekend, 38.15-kilometers-long (24 miles) Cetibeli.
Here are the leading times of the SS1:
Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai i20 2:02.6
Thierry Neuville Hyundai i20 2:02.6
Pontus Tidemand M-Sport +1.6
Sebastien Ogier Citroen C3 +1.7
Kris Meeke Toyota Yaris +2.0
Esapekka Lappi Citroen C3 +3.9
Ott Tanak Toyota Yaris +4.2
Kalle Rovanpera (WRC2 PRO) Skoda +4.3
Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota Yaris +4.6
Dani Sordo Hyundai i20 +4.9
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