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GP Week : Issue 78
WRC TURKEY >> Plans were confused because rain started to fall and that made the tarmac roads treacherous -- Sordo came back to the service park with a tyre on which the tread had been completely stripped away, From Stage 3 until Stage 14 the leader had been Sebastien Ogier, driving maturely and competently, with Sordo, Hirvonen and Petter Solberg taking turns to put pressure on him in the hope of forcing him to make an error. n the end Ogier had a tyre explode on a very fast right hand bend. He went off the road and could only continue after replacing the punctured tyre with a spare. The delay dropped him to fifth and, once again, it was the six-times world champion Sebastien Loeb who was there to drop into the lead. There had been a frantic battle for the lead on Day 1. Second through to fifth places had only 4.3 seconds between them, and leader Ogier was only another 5.5 seconds further in front. Latvala dropped back on Day 2 when he went off the road and rolled, dropping from sixth place down to 17th, only eventually getting back into a points position at the end of that day. Behind the leading group Kimi Raikkonen was driving the smartest rally of his career and was now sixth. The final day started with a couple of cancelled stages but it was enough for the Group N leader Ott Tanak to crash out of the rally. Then with two stages to go Sordo went off the road, wrecking his suspension and retiring, suddenly bringing Ford back into championship points contention with Latvala continuing to recover lost ground. Loeb meanwhile headed off into the distance, in the lead, in a manner to which he is accustomed. WHY did Citroen Total team choose to fit used tyres instead of new tyres on their cars on the Saturday morning? There is a rule that P1 and P2 drivers must always leave service parks on new tyres on asphalt rallies, but this does not apply on gravel events. The opening stage on Day 2 of Turkey was mixed surface. From data gained on the first day of Cyprus last year, when they had to drive asphalt stages with gravel tyres, some drivers reckoned it was better to take part-worn tyres. Such tyres might have been used on the Shakedown or on the first day here in Turkey, all part of the 42 marked tyres which they are allowed to use during the event. All the cars would have had four available worn tyres from Shakedown and either eight or 12 they had used the day before -- plenty of tyres to choose from. They could then swop them round between the stages as they wanted. When using gravel tyres on tarmac, it is better to use the worn tyres on the front. This sort of experience was also used in Australia at the Murwillumbah street circuit stages as well. For sure the car was faster with worn gravel tyres than new gravel tyres in these circumstances. Citroen seem to be very good at judging exactly what risks they can take doing that. Would new tyres have been better? Petter Solberg took six new tyres and kept two for the long rough Stage 13. Everyone seemed to have started with new tyres on Saturday afternoon, for the second loop of these stages. Maybe it hadn't been such a great idea. Worn Tyres Better than New Loeb won again -- even starting first-on-road for the final day 37