BRUTAL, JUST BRUTAL
Day two proved to be a chastening experience for all of the manufacturers involved in the championship, with several crews forced to retire. At Citroën, Mads Østberg – Torstein Eriksen fell foul of a turbo failure, whilst Craig Breen and Scott Martin retired after their car burst into flames and burned out. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson made it through this day of purgatory to reach service in Marmaris in fourteenth place.
It had been widely expected that the brutal Turkish stages would produce drama yesterday, but by and large, it failed to materialise. On today's leg, however, there was a veritable deluge of racing incidents and unfortunately, like its rivals, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT did not escape unscathed.
Despite a fairly unfavourable starting position (2nd) on roads that were expected to clean, Craig Breen had adopted a smart approach and was running in sixth place when his C3 WRC caught fire (SS11), spelling the end of his rally.
Having rejoined this morning looking to test set-up options in competitive conditions and obtain information for future appearances at the rally, unfortunately Mads Østberg was quickly (SS8) stopped in his tracks by a turbo problem. He will be back in action tomorrow under Rally 2 rules.
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi managed not only to successfully negotiate the countless difficulties of the day but also improve his times on the second runs, making it to service this evening in fourteenth position.
Tomorrow's final day will see the competitors tackle some thirty-five kilometres of timed stages (in four speed tests).
WHAT THEY SAID
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
"We knew it was going to be a huge challenge before we got here. Today, like everyone else, we suffered in the absolutely brutal conditions on the stages, which caused even more damage than we had expected. Obviously, we will be learning the lessons very quickly about the extreme and unusual stresses put on the car so we can come back stronger than ever. Starting tomorrow, we'll try and keep adding to our experience."
Khalid Al Qassimi
"After a tough first loop, we adjusted the set-up with the team and I was a lot more comfortable in the afternoon. I was able to up my pace, despite a few issues with the intercom."
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
- Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:34:22.5
- Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 13.1
- Paddon / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:10.5
- Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 3:22.2
- Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 6:25.4
- H. Solberg / Minor (Skoda Fabia R5) + 11:55.5
- Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 16:49.0
14. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) + 34:03.8