WRC teams get Rally Turkey gaps changed after dust complaints

Rally Turkey organisers have listened to the complaints of the World Rally Championship manufacturers and agreed to run four-minute gaps between the lead drivers on Friday afternoon's stages

WRC teams get Rally Turkey gaps changed after dust complaints

The leading drivers all complained bitterly about the dust problem on the Cetibeli stage on Friday morning, with many of them labelling it dangerous to drive in such conditions.

Reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier said: "It was really bad in there, there was so much dust.

"We knew it would be like this and that's why we asked from the start for the four minutes."

The teams all contacted the organisers on this issue before the start, with M-Sport's team principal Malcolm Wilson reiterating the point as soon as he arrived in service in the morning.

"As soon as I came in, I knew what it would be like," said Wilson. "There's no wind and the dust just hung there."

Toyota sporting director Kaj Lindstrom told Autosport the measure was taken unequivocally on safety grounds.

"We all asked before the event and then when we saw the dust problem in SS2," he said.

"Iain [Tullie, M-Sport Ford co-ordinator] was the first to ask since his car [Ogier] was the first to go through in the dust and then I had the same feeling when our cars went through.

"We contacted the organisers and asked for a bigger gap."

Initially the gap was requested for SS3, but the clerk of the course only published decision three for the afternoon. The decision states: "Priority 1 crews (the factory World Rally Cars) will have a four-minute gap. All other crews will have a three-minute gap."

Lindstrom said "hopefully" the same gap will be applied for the morning stages for the rest of the weekend.

"That's when it's the most important, when there is no wind in the morning," he added.

"If there's dust, for sure boys will go [flat out] even if they can't see anything.

"It's a safety thing. We can't take the risk, it's our guys going out and that's a safety issue - but there are also spectators [and their safety]."

Evans's problems explained

Elfyn Evans's M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC underwent a complete rear differential change at lunchtime service after the rear transmission failed on the morning's first loop.

Evans lost rear drive in the car and was initially told to pull over, before being allowed to continue with caution. He fell to 14th, nearly three minutes off the lead.

"The concern was that the propshaft would come out of the [rear] diff housing, flail about and possibly go through the fuel tank," explained team boss Wilson.

"That's always a risk with any rally car, but Elfyn said there was no vibration from the prop, so he drove through in front-wheel drive."

Wilson said the problem was no fault of Evans's.

"No, it's a simple rear diff failure," he said.

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Series WRC
Author David Evans
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