A super Swansea finale for the Fiesta SportingTrophy
The 2008 Pirelli-supported Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi) series comes to a close next week on Wales Rally GB and competition couldn’t be tighter as seven Ford Fiesta STs line up for the finale. Heading into the sixth and final round of the FSTi, the top-two placed drivers are split by just one championship point while the battle for third is currently a dead heat between two competitors making the most nail biting finish in FSTi history.

Currently leading the way in the series on 29 points is Castrol Team Türkiye member Emre Yurdakul (25) and his co-driver Can Erkal (24) who will be aiming for nothing but victory as they hunt down their first ever FSTi crown. Yurdakul’s impressive form of late has seen him take victory on the previous three FSTi rounds to catapult himself into the championship lead. This will be his second attempt at the Welsh-based event.

Burcu Çetinkaya (27) from Turkey and co-driver Çiçek Güney (26) lie just one point behind their team-mates and will be fighting hard to write their names in the history books as the first ever all-female crew to win a one-make series run alongside the FIA World Rally Championship. Çetinkaya also contested the event in 2007 finishing fourth Fiesta against a strong field and one place ahead of Yurdakul.

Currently equal third in the championship with Joachim Muller-Wende is Koray Muratoğlu (30) who will again be joined by Caglar Suren. Two non-scores on the last two FSTi events haven’t helped Muratoğlu, but now, back on a familiar gravel surface, he will be looking to rectify the situation and post some positive results on the final round of the season.

Russian Denis Grodetskiy and navigator Safoniy Lotko also rejoin the FSTi regulars after two non-starts in Germany and Spain. This will be Grodetskiy’s first attempt at Wales Rally GB and he will be looking to make his mark on the final round after a season of learning for the Russian.

A newcomer to the series is VK FST UK regular Tom Walster (22) and co-driver Tim Sturla, whose vast experience of the Welsh forests could see them become a real challenge to the front-running crews. With some strong performances on this year’s Severn Valley Clubman Rally and Swansea Bay Rally – both with stages encompassing the Wales Rally GB route – Walster will be one to watch on his second Wales Rally GB outing.

Another newcomer to the FSTi series on the final round is 2008 Fiesta SportingTrophy Italy Champion Marko Jeram and co-driver Simon Lapajne. The pair won the drive on Wales Rally GB as a prize for their Italian FST championship victory this year and will use the event as the perfect platform in preparation for the FSTi Shootout the following week at M-Sport.

The 2008 FST International Shootout is set to take place on 9 and 10 December at M-Sport in Cumbria and will bring together competitors from nine FST championships across the globe. The two day event will test the drivers’ psychology, physical fitness, media skills and, of course, driving ability. One outstanding candidate will be announced the 2008 FST International Shootout winner, collecting a prize of one year’s work experience and training at M-Sport with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

Rally Travel - official championship travel partner - is offering the FSTi series winner a credit-crunching first prize of £500 in the form of vouchers towards travel arrangements for use on any 2009 FSTi events. Rally Travel has been a partner of FSTi for the past three seasons and supported competitors by providing competitive deals on accommodation and other travel services such as bespoke spectator packages for team guests, family and friends.

Emre Yurdakul (25) from Turkey said:
“I am very close to winning the FSTi title which is one of my dreams in the sport. It is a very good feeling to enter the last round of the series as the leader. It was my objective at the start of the season to win the FSTi Championship so to achieve this on Rally GB would be something special. It has not been an easy season for me and we had some unlucky moments in some rallies, but, now we have the advantage going into the last round and we will give everything we have to win the championship. I did Rally GB last year so I think this experience will help me a lot. What I need to win the championship is to finish the rally in front of my team-mate Burcu but we will have to see what happens. We have been preparing well and we will see how tough it will be next Friday. I am very happy that we are in the top-two positions in the championship and I hope Koray will take third place at the end of the rally. We will do our best for the team, Castrol Ford Team Türkiye, because we want to show our gratitude to our sponsors, who will come to watch us on the event.”

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