Six-time World Champion Sebastien Ogier ended his team-mate Esapekka Lappi’s domination at Rally Turkey on Saturday with an overall of 3:20:12.0. He will enter the final day as the leader.
Sunday’s battle for the first place will be intense, as Lappi is only 0.2 seconds behind Ogier. Ogier closed the 10.2 seconds gap after SS10 and he was the fastest man on the track at Yesilbelde 1 (SS8) and Yesilbelde 2 (SS11) stages.
“It was always a bit of a risk to be aggressive with the tire choice but I was confident it would work,” Ogier said, adding it has been a challenging afternoon because the roads were “very abrasive”.
“Our rivals had trouble, now we need to finish the job tomorrow,” Ogier said.
While Andreas Mikkelsen topped the SS9 in his Toyota Yaris, Lappi finished Kizilan 1 (SS10) and Kizilan 2 (SS13) stages the fastest. Thierry Neuville remains at eighth place on the overall timetable after crossing the finish line with the best time in the Datca 2 (SS12) stage.
Unfortunately, the championship leader Ott Tanak retired in SS9 due to a technical problem in his car.
“I came here, started to put the helmets on sitting in the car and nothing happens, we can’t fire it up,” Tanak said, explaining why he stopped.
“Something electrical I guess, everything is in safe mode. Five kilometers before we did the refuel, stopped and started again and it was okay.
“These things keep happening to us. We just need to stay strong and be over it, but it’s difficult to fight for a championship with so many issues like that,” Tanak said, referring to the impact on his title quest.
Drivers completed Yesilbelde, Datca and Kizilan stages twice on the second day, where drivers showed more pace after passing the most challenging, rocky and dusty stages on Friday.
International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Jean Todt also paid a visit to rally arena on Saturday. Todt met with the drivers and journalists in the Asparan Service Park and media zone. He will also attend the podium ceremony on Sunday after drivers will compete in the last four stages.
The Rally Turkey will enter its final day on Sunday with Marmaris 1 (SS14), Gokce (SS15), Cicekli (SS16) and Marmaris 2 (SS17) stages.
Sunday will show whether Ogier will be able take advantage of his rivals’ misfortunes or not, because racers will return to rocky surfaces of the north in which anything can happen.
Here are the leading times of the second day’s overall:
- Sebastien Ogier (Citroen C3) 3:20:12.0
Esapekka Lappi (Citroen C3) +0.2
Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai i20) +1:17.1
Teemu Suninen (Ford M-Sport) +1.26.9
Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) +2:24.7
Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris) +3:14.4
Kris Meeke (Toyota Yaris) +3:29.5
Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) +4:38.2
Pontus Tidemand (Ford M-Sport) +6:55.8
10. Ott Tanak (Toyota Yaris) +36:40.5