The Saturday (14 September) of Rally Turkey Marmaris brought six more stages covering 110.10 kilometres. Already on Friday Kalle Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen (FIN/FIN) hit bad luck. They had to retire after three punctures on their ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, literally running out of spare wheels. They re-started on Saturday and their mission was clear: to bring the car to the finish and to collect as many points as possible for both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ category of the WRC 2 Pro championship. The two Finns strictly followed that plan, safely reaching the leg’s finish on Saturday evening.
Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler found themselves in a solid lead of the WRC 2 Pro category on Friday evening. But the Czech Rally Champion Kopecký was cautious. “This rally with tough gravel roads and big stones is unpredictable. Not to collect a puncture, is very much depending on good luck,” he said. The opening on Saturday morning was more than 33 kilometres long, a tough wakeup for the surviving crews at Rally Turkey Marmaris. Jan Kopecký had a smooth and controlled ride with his ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo and confessed: “It’s all about finding a good rhythm and avoiding mistakes.” The Czech Rally Champion finished the morning loop in a commanding lead of the WRC 2 Pro category.
After the midday service, Jan Kopecký and co-driver Pavel Dresler started into the repetition of the longest stage of the day, the 33 kilometres of “Yesibelde”. After 14 kilometres, they collected a puncture on their ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo and had to change the wheel in the stage. The time loss was more than two minutes, eventually costing the category lead. On the next stage, Jan Kopecký switched to attack-mode and on only 8.5 kilometres reduced the gap to the leading Ford driver Gus Greensmith by 14.5 seconds. “It is difficult for us, but we will try – that’s all I can say,” commented Kopecký at the finish of the stage. After collecting another slow puncture, he had no spare wheel left and had to play it safe in the last stage. Actually, it is Kopecký’s main mission to save ŠKODA important points for the manufacturers championship of the WRC 2 Pro category.
After the Saturday leg, the dominant leaders of the WRC 2 category for private teams, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak, are by far the fastest among the R5 competitors.
Sunday (15 September) will bring four more stages of 38.62 competitive kilometres. After 17 tests totalling 310.10 kilometres, the winner will reach the podium at the service area of Asparan close to Marmaris at around 14h15.
Standings Rally Turkey after Day 3 (WRC 2 Pro/WRC 2)
1. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 3:33:04.5 h
2. Greensmith/Edmondson (GBR/GBR), Ford Fiesta R5 MKII, +57.6 sec.*
3. Kopecký/Dresler (CZE/CZE), ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo, +1:58.3 min.*
4. Bulacia-Wilkinson/Cretu (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +3:06.7 sec.
5. Andolfi/Inglesi (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +9:25.4 min.
*Factory nominated crews eligible to score points in the WRC 2 Pro category
Number of the day: 10
In the field of the 12 surviving R5 competitors at Rally Turkey on Saturday evening, ten crews trust the robustness of the ŠKODA FABIA R5 and ŠKODA FABIA R5 evo models.
The calendar of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2 Pro)
Great Britain 03/10/–06/10/2019