M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are in a confident mood as the WRC returns to Rally Turkey this weekend.
With less than two weeks separating the Turkish fixture from the previous outing in Estonia – and no time to return to the workshop in Cumbria – the Fiestas will be cleaned, stripped and re-prepped on site in the Asparan Service Park.
Transforming the set-up from that required for smooth and fast gravel to that of rough and abrasive gravel, the technicians travelled to Turkey last weekend and will soon get to work changing and strengthening a number of items to ensure the Fiestas are geared up for the challenges ahead.
New suspension parts and transmissions will be fitted, alongside additional protection to safeguard against the rough terrain and larger fans and cooling packages to combat the soaring temperatures. The engineers will then fine-tune the set-up and raise the ride height for optimum performance on Turkey’s demanding stages.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“We’re confident of a good result in Turkey. The Fiesta has proven strength and performance when it comes to this event, and our drivers are all capable of delivering a good result this week. Estonia wasn’t our rally, but Turkey provides a completely different challenge and I think we have a good chance. All three drivers have recorded strong results here, and I’m sure we can give our rivals a run for their money.
“I also want to take this opportunity to praise our team of engineers, technicians, truck drivers and logistics co-ordinators. Travelling from Estonia to Turkey and getting the cars turned around in a matter of days was no easy task, but each and every one of them has risen to the challenge. They’ve all shown the spirit we pride ourselves on here at M-Sport, and I hope to see their hard work rewarded with a strong result.”
Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm know what it takes to tame the Turkish terrain. Finishing second at the event last year, the Finns led the rally for much of the weekend – enthralled in an intense, inter-team battle with six-time World Champion Sébastien Ogier. Teaming his knowledge of the Turkish stages with the strength of the Fiesta this year, Lappi will be keen for a strong result and intent on reining in his rivals.
Esapekka Lappi said:
“We finished second in Turkey last year, and it would be great to follow that up with another strong result this week. We’ve seen good speed from the Fiesta there in the past, and for sure we will be better suited to these stages. You need to use your head at a rally like this and know when to push and when to take your foot off the pedal. It’s a fine balance between speed and endurance, but if we can get that right then we shouldn’t be too far away from a strong result.”
Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen are feeling optimistic as the FIA World Rally Championship heads to a number of their favoured events. Having finished just shy of the podium on both of his Turkish outings, the young Finn has every chance of doing one better this year – harnessing the strength and power of his Ford Fiesta WRC in pursuit of his second podium of the year.
Teemu Suninen (right) had a good return to rallying in Estonia in early September.
Teemu Suninen said:
“We had a really good rally in Turkey last year. I learnt a lot that weekend and I think we had the right balance between showing good pace and driving well through the stages without making any mistakes. The goal will be to build on that again this week, and hopefully challenge for another strong result. A rally like this is never easy and it demands a lot physically, mentally and mechanically, but if we can have another clever drive with the right speed for the right sections then I’m confident of another strong result.”
Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson produced one of the most epic victories of the year when they won the WRC 2 Pro category at Rally Turkey last year. Getting wide into the last corner of the penultimate stage, the pairing rolled into a ditch and had to work tirelessly to get their Fiesta back on the road and repaired for the final stage – which they completed at competitive speed to take the Ford Fiesta Rally2’s maiden international victory. Graduating to the Fiesta WRC this year, the Brits will be looking to increase their knowledge and experience in the FIA World Rally Championship’s top flight.
Gus Greensmith said:
“I’m really looking forward to Rally Turkey, and hope it won’t be quite as eventful as last year! That has to be the most dramatic win of my career, but it just goes to show how strong the Fiesta is across all categories. That strong chassis should be a big advantage for us this week as we know how demanding the Turkey stages are. They’re the roughest of the year, but they’re also physically and mentally demanding and you need to calculate when to push that loud pedal and when to back off. It’s a tricky balance, but we plan to get it right and continue learning as much as we can.”
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