Stobart crews roast in Turkish leaderboard
With day 2 of Rally Turkey completed this evening the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team remain with all three crews in points scoring positions. Leading the pack are Norwegians Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud who occupy a podium-chasing fourth position overall.

Team-mates Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin kept things secure by staying out of trouble to remain comfortably in the points in seventh. The pair currently hold a gap of over one and a half minutes to their team-mates Galli/Giovanni Bernacchini in eighth.

Today’s leg has been the rally’s hottest and toughest yet catching out several competitors including Stobart’s Galli who dropped back to eighth after a turbo related issue on stage 13 this afternoon.

Last night’s flexi-service gave Solberg’s team of expert technicians the chance to change his favourite, but worse-for-wear, gearbox and replace it with a new one. The component changed Solberg’s feeling with the car causing the Norwegian driver to lose some time over the day as he began to familiarise himself with the car’s new characteristics.

Coming out of Service F this morning Galli was sitting pretty in third position just 5.2 seconds off the leader. Unfortunately a turbo boost valve problem on the 27.36 kilometre Silyon 2 stage lost the Italian star four minutes with an extensive lack of power to his Stobart Ford Focus RS WRC07.

Galli was also plagued with fatigue as a result of the hot and dusty conditions which were thrown at competitors today and this affected his concentration over the final two stages this afternoon. By final service tonight the Italian required medical attention to check the extent of his suspected dehydration and exhaustion.

With his cold clearing over the course of the day Wilson put in some blistering times to maintain his comfortable seventh position. The only issue for the youngster today came towards the end of stage 13 when he had an impact with a rock damaging the right, rear suspension of his Focus RS. Fortunately the car’s durability held strong and he only lost minimal time with a cautious drive to the end of the test and into this afternoon’s service stop.

Despite the rough conditions over today’s 138 kilometres of competitive distance the Pirelli Scorpion tyre held up strong. All six special stages were run to the west of Rally HQ in Kemer as the day concluded with a pass over the 2.6 kilometre Antalya super special located to the north in Antalya city.

Tomorrow’s final day will see just three stages run, two passes over the monster Olympos test which at 31.03 kilometres in length is the longest of the event. These two massive stages will sandwich the short Çamyuva stage and could well provide a sting in the tail for crews.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Gigi Galli said:
“This has been a really hard day of rallying and I’m exhausted now at the end. For sure I’m disappointed with the problem today and not to be able to challenge for a podium again and it’s strange that we had the same problem on the same stage a few years ago. But this is rallying and you cannot predict what will happen. I still have the opportunity to score a point in the drivers’ championship and also even more points for the Stobart team in the manufacturers’ so I will be trying my best for the team and the fans here in Turkey.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
“We are in a good position at the moment and I am going to try my best to remain here tomorrow but I will have to be careful of Dani coming up behind me. We had to change the gearbox in my car last night and I am very used to the old one so it has taken a little bit to get used to the new one today but OK everything is good with the car and we have kept it on the road and out of trouble which is the main thing. A podium is never out of the question and I would love to be on it for all my Norwegian fans who have come out to support me for this rally but we will see what happens tomorrow.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“Today has been another top day for us and despite this cold, which I just can’t seem to shake off, the times have been good and everything is working well. The car is feeling really good and some of the stages this afternoon have been mega which has really helped with my confidence and speed. We bent the rear trailing arm today when I had an impact with a rock at the end of stage 13 and it unsettled the handling of the car so I just took it easy to get back to service and only lost a little bit of time. The plan is to continue things into the final day and hopefully come away with another points’ finish.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“It’s good to see that with just one day left of this rally all three Stobart crews are still in the points considering how difficult this event has been. I really believe today has been some of Henning’s best driving and his times on certain stages have been extremely impressive given his road position. Matthew too has had another fine day and both he and Henning’s cars have run faultlessly in the rough conditions. I’m really disappointed for Gigi as he was again setting some amazing times until his problem this afternoon. If the Stobart team can manage their current positions tomorrow it will mean a big points gain on Subaru in the championship.”

Day 2 Leaderboard
1. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen 3h47m37.8s
2. J-M Latvala/M Anttila +16.2s
3. S Loeb/D Elena +34.3s
4. H Solberg/C Menkerud +2m08.5s
5. D Sordo/M Marti +2m15.1s
6. P Solberg/P Mills +2m33.7s
7. M Wilson/S Martin +3m41.2s
8. G Galli/G Bernacchini +5m20.1s
9. C Rautenbach/D Senior +6m08.6s
10. F Villagra/J Pérez Companc +7m43.8s

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