This years Rally Turkey gathered quite a small amount of participants. Maybe teams are afraid to damage their cars in this hard conditions as they don't have a opportunities for a good results. But those who are fighting for titles are here in Turkey. So just 9 WRC cars stand to the start line, the smallest group was just WRC 3 with 6 cars and the biggest one WRC 2 with 10 cars. So this makes a total of 37 participants from 10 countries.
Mateusz Przysklakowski started with a win in SSS but later in SS3 his result wasn't counted and he got a 25 minutes of penalty. This could be a very big loss for Mateusz as he is trying to catch Juan Marzoa in overall standings. Staright ahead from SS2 the Spaniards took the big job to their hands. First Juan Marzoa won 2 stages, then Echedei Benitez won another 2. Yep, the same Echedei Benitez with S2000 Peugeot. These unique conditions of Turkey stages let's drivers show the real skills and cars speed is not the main factory here. So after first leg we have 4 drivers who are in almost 3 seconds interval and fight for 3rd place. That's a really serious competition. So far the luckiest is Lithuanian Arnas Kerbelys who holds that 3rd place. Jyrki Niemela who drivers R5 Fiesta is in 2nd place 32.25 seconds ahead of Arnas and 25.40 seconds down from rally leader Juan Marzoa. Juan Made a few mistakes but overall he is happy with his performance. Two more days left but if Juan finishes like that his chances of winning championship will be deadly serious.
Of course WRC 2 is lead by Jyrki, who is in front of Echedei Benitez by 33.13 seconds. Spanriard again is showing a good speed, but he really need to stay focus and think about finishing without any penalties. Benitez is one of the fastest drivers in WRC 2 but by counting his points he is just in 8th position. 3rd so far is another fast guy Jan Gais, after missing two previous events Slovakian has 1min 42.01sec gap from Jyrki. Kirill Kolomiets had unlucky first day and is in 4th place but gap from Jan is just 13 seconds, so Ukrainian surely gonna do everything he can to be higher.
The tiniest WRC 3 class guys are really struggling in this conditions and it was a long time ago that we didn't saw any 2WD car in Top 10 after first leg. However Remus Diaconescu holds the leader position with his Citroen C2 GT S1600. The beginning was not the best for Romanian, he lost 11 second in first two stages, but then he won four of them in a row and in the end of the day he has a big 1min 42.93sec advantage against the nearest opponent. That opponent is Maciej Mynarski with Honda Civic Type R R3 and 3rd is another Maciej. Maciej Zawisza won two stages and was fastest until a tragically SS6 began. Zawisza's Fiesta was two times recovered by spectators and then three more times seen ditches and bushes, really unlucky stage that cost him over two minutes of lost time.
We have 26 crews that survived the first leg and 19 who continues rally without minutes of penalties. Just 5 rounds will be left after Rally Turkey and everybody is counting points so the tension is high. Stay focus, You never know what rock is waiting for You around the corner!