With the dust still settling following an epic, if controversial Jordan Rally at the start of April, the World Rally Championship regulars are already preparing to resume their chase for the sport’s biggest prize on Rally of Turkey, which takes place from 15-18 April.
Based in the Pendik district of Istanbul, the rally features high-speed gravel stages in Turkey’s Asian countryside, plus an asphalt superspecial stage close to the banks of the Bosphorus River in Kadikoy.
While Turkey has been a mainstay of the WRC since 2003, this year’s event features a brand-new route and location and represents unchartered territory for the leading drivers and teams. Previously based on mountainous and punishing roads above the Mediterranean resort of Kemer, the event has relocated 700 kilometres north to Istanbul following a one-year absence from the WRC under the calendar rotation system.
Turkey’s largest city and cultural and commercial epicentre will host the ceremonial start in Sultanahmet Square close to the spectacular Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia on Thursday evening, which crews will reach by taking a ferry crossing over the Bosphorous. Service is located in Pendik, a short distance from Istanbul Park, venue of the Turkish Grand Prix.
Although the 23 stages included on the event’s itinerary are new to the WRC, the stages have been used on rounds of the European Rally Championship and Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the past. They are characterised by their wide, fast and smooth nature, with sections of Tarmac thrown in for good measure.
Click: WRC.com Rally Turkey
Official Website: rallyofturkey.org/