Stobart crews get their first serving of Turkey
Round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship got underway this evening for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team on the Rally of Turkey. Both nominated points scorers, Gigi Galli and Henning Solberg, lead the way for the side after setting identical times on stage 1 tonight.

Thousands of enthusiastic WRC fans flocked to the tourist city of Antalya for the official start ceremony for the Rally of Turkey. Beginning in the grounds of Antalya’s main university the atmosphere was electric as the event kicked into gear.

After passing over the ramp crews headed straight into the 2.6 kilometre Antalya super special. The track, which ran two competitors at a time along a parallel stage, proved difficult for crews with dust becoming a big issue in the wind-protected arena.

Shakedown this morning was a positive outing for the Stobart squad with Galli setting the second quickest time over the test. Team-mate Solberg finished close behind with all three Stobart crews happy with the setup of their Stobart Ford Focus RS WRCs.

Tomorrow will see the longest leg of this event at 154.9 kilometres of competitive stage distance. The day will also break from regular modern-day WRC tradition with a fourth service stop to break up the eight lengthy special stages.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Gigi Galli said:
“We maybe didn’t have the best start because we started on the outside lane and all the dust blew over onto us and we couldn’t see a thing. It is OK though because the real stages start tomorrow but it was great tonight to see all the fans down in the town and I think it was a perfect place to start this rally.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
“I like the roads here and I love this rally because it is where I secured my first ever podium. What happened in Greece was disappointing but it is all part of the game and now I’m focusing on this event for a good result. It’s great to see all my fans out here tonight even though this stage was so dusty; I couldn’t see anything!”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“That was a very tricky start because there was so much dust running first WRC car on the road. We did nothing heroic in there and just got through because it was quite a loose surface but I think the guys running down the order will go quicker. It’s good to see the locals come down and support the event but now it is time to focus for tomorrow’s long day.”

Leaderboard after SS1
1. S Loeb/D Elena 2m07.6s
2. P Solberg/P Mills +0.7s
3. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +1.1s
4. J-M Latvala/M Anttila +2.3s
5. D Sordo/M Marti +2.9s
6. C Atkinson/S Prevot +3.7s
7. A Mikkelsen/O Floene +4.0s
= F Villagra/J Maria Volta +4.0s
9. G Galli/G Bernacchini +4.9s
= H Solberg/C Menkerud +4.9s

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