- One of the season’s toughest challenges. Searing heat and rocky gravel roads in the mountains of south-west Turkey place big demands on man and machine. A rally in which a smart strategy and avoiding problems is as important, if not more so, than outright speed.
- Big crowds pack the resort town of Marmaris for Thursday evening’s short blast through the streets of the marina area.
- A gruelling opening leg on Friday contains more than half the rally’s competitive distance at almost 161km.
- It kicks-off with a revamped Içmeler test next to the service park before journeying north-east towards Mugla for two more stages. All three are repeated in the afternoon.
- It’s a similar format on Saturday, but this time the route heads west of Marmaris. The new Kizlan test closes each loop of a compact day, which packs almost 118km of stages into a 346km itinerary.
- Sunday’s finale is equally pocket-sized. The four tests culminate in the Marmaris Power Stage, which ends at the entrance to the Asparan service park.
- Saturday’s Datça test is a cracker. It’s only 8.75km but what it lacks in distance is more than made up for by incredible scenery. It winds round a mountain with the final few kilometres along the coast, offering stunning picture postcard backdrops to the sea.
- The series’ slowest gravel round brings reduced airflow and places high demands on hot engines, transmissions and brakes.
- Abrasive roads and high temperatures ensure a tough time for Michelin’s hard-working tyres.
- Air temperatures well in excess of 30°C provide uncomfortable cockpit conditions for drivers and co-drivers.
- Gravel suspension.
- On the rocky mountain roads, drivers may raise their car’s ride height to cope with rough conditions during the second pass.
- Hard tyres are the preferred option, but medium compounds also play a part in drivers’ strategy.
- Rally of Turkey was first held in 2000 and three years later it debuted in the WRC
- Carlos Sainz won the inaugural event based in Kemer, near Antalya.
- In 2010 the rally moved north to roads near Istanbul, in the Asian part of the country.
- Sébastien Loeb tops the winners’ hall of fame with three victories. Citroën has four wins to its name.
What’s new for 2019
- Saturday’s 17.00km Kizlan test, which promises stunning scenery as it hugs the coastline.
- The incredibly twisty Çiçekli test moves from Friday to Sunday and runs in the opposite direction to last year.
- Thursday night’s street stage in the picturesque marina area of Marmaris. It features roundabout donuts, a jump and tight hairpin bends – as well as big crowds!
- The Asparan service park is the rally hub. It’s just a few kilometres from Marmaris and within easy (and we mean easy!) access of several stages.
- Sunday’s Wolf Power Stage. The Marmaris test starts in the town of Içmeler and finishes in the service park. Perfect for watching the action and joining in the victory celebrations.
- Several stages run alongside the sea, guaranteeing jaw-dropping TV and All Live footage of the coastline. Unless, of course, you are there and then you can see for yourself!
- Marmaris is a Mediterranean port city and holiday resort on the Turkish Riviera. In September, temperatures will nudge 30°C so for those fans intending to go and watch, why not add on a few days for relaxation by the beach and pool?