THE RALLY TURKEY NOTEBOOK & CITROËN SECRETS
THE RALLY TURKEY NOTEBOOK BY… SÉBASTIEN OGIER
8th Rally Turkey (12-15 September 2019) – Story
A regular in the world rally championship since 2008, the Frenchman has already competed at a wide range of different rounds. In light of his extensive experience, he described the scale of the challenge in Turkey…
Having raced at many events that have a reputation for being really rough, such as Acropolis Rally or Cyprus Rally, where would you put Turkey?
In my opinion, last year, it was definitely worse. Particularly in terms of the size of the rocks that ended up on the racing line. Having said that, I only competed at the Acropolis Rally towards the end of its time on the calendar. There were undoubtedly some very very demanding rallies held there before.
Average speeds here are the lowest all season. How does that affect things?
It’s hard on the cars, because when the speeds are lower, then there is also less natural cooling for the various components. It’s also harder for the crew because the temperatures are generally very high and the fact of driving more slowly means there is less ventilation and less air coming into the cockpit. So we’re expecting to have to deal with extremely hot conditions in the car!
It is generally understood to be a rally where you need to look after the car, but how is that translated, in practical terms?
Starting in recce, in addition to noting the description of the road, with the angles of the corners and the distances, I try to identify the risky areas where there are big rocks or other issues, trying to use terms that are as precise and clear as possible.
We saw last year that being a good mechanic can also be a life-saver on this kind of event…
Well, that was how I began my career in motorsport , so I still have a few skills, but I hope I won't need to use them this year. This kind of rally can sometimes be a question of managing to survive, so our approach tends to focus on endurance. Typically, we often take two spare tyres and more spare parts than usual. That said, at the end of the day, we still only have a limited amount of equipment, such as the tool kit we have on board. And that means that if there is a problem, the difficulty for us is that we invariably have to carry out makeshift repairs, whilst trying to lose as little time as possible.
Whilst Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their debut WRC win at the 2010 Rally de Portugal in a C4 WRC, they might have taken their maiden victory two rounds earlier in the season in Turkey, when the event was held around Istanbul.
The fourth event of only their second season in the C4 WRC, the rally saw the young Frenchmen take the lead on the third stage. They held first place for twelve of the twenty-one stages ultimately contested, winning five of the speed tests in the process. However, unfortunately, a burst tyre on SS15 cost them more than three minutes and they ended up just outside the podium places (4th). They were replaced at the front by the C4 WRC of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who claimed Citroën’s fourth win in Turkey, following those secured in 2003 (Citroën’s first ever win in the WRC), 2004 and 2005 with the Xsara WRC.
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