Hang on to your butts, this is the round where everything can change.
Ott Tanak winning Deutschland for the second straight year wasn’t a big surprise, and he was on 18 of last week’s 20 fantasy rosters. What did come as more of a surprise was Lappi and Suninen landing in the top 5 (two players picked Lappi, no one picked Suninen), and drivers like Sordo and Latvala retiring. The one player who did have it figured out (almost) was b dash rian, whose picks finished first, second, third, fourth, sixth, and won the power stage. If Mikkelsen had finished one position better he would have achieved the perfect roster.
Meanwhile, the battle for the overall title is by no means a done deal as there is now a tie for the lead between Shane Hutton and James Beckett, with third place Marzobomber just two points behind them. With Turkey being the point at which we start dropping everyone’s worst rounds we can see some dramatic shake ups from here to the end of the season (keep your eye on anyone who has missed a round).
Speaking of unpredictable, let’s talk Turkey. The last time a WRC round was held in Turkey was back in 2010, back when the 2.0L engine was law and Ford and Citroen were running the Focus and C4. Only two current drivers were competing then, Seb Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. Andreas Mikkelsen ran the 2008 round as a privateer entry in a two-year-old car, bringing the total number of drivers with Turkish experience to 3. Except rally Turkey back then was held in Pendik, this year it’s 400 miles away in Marmaris, which means no one has any experience whatsoever on these roads. Truly a fresh event. Drivers who can get their pace notes right the first time around will have the edge here.
As for stage conditions, early reports are that they’re low-speed technical stages, with lots of corners and a rougher road surface akin to Acropolis. It is also hot, so driver and car must be able to contend with the heat. This year I’ve often said at the end of my preview posts that it’s anyone’s guess who will triumph. That has never been more true than here in Turkey. So show me what you’ve got.
Want to see how you did last year and refresh yourself on the rules? Check this out right here. Here’s the official Entry List, and the current fantasy points spreadsheet. And while you’re at it, you can also look at the driver’s data and statistics here.
M-SPORT FORD WRT - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Sébastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 14.0- Avg TUR: 12.0
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.0 - Avg TUR: N/A
Teemu Suninen (FIN) - Avg last 9 rounds: 6.7 - Avg TUR: N/A
HYUNDAI SHELL MOBIS WRT - HYUNDAI I20 COUPE WRC
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.2 - Avg TUR: 0.0
Thierry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 17.1 - Avg TUR: N/A
Hayden Paddon (NZL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.5 - Avg TUR: N/A
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 4.6 - Avg TUR: 11.0
Ott Tänak (EST) - Avg last 10 rounds: 13.3 - Avg TUR: N/A
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.8 - Avg TUR: N/A
CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT - CITROËN C3 WRC
Mads Østberg (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.7 - Avg TUR: N/A
Craig Breen (IRL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.4 - Avg TUR: N/A
Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE) - Avg last 10 rounds: 0.0 - Avg TUR: N/A
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Side note, Yazeed Al-Rajhi is selling his WRC car. Yes, this WRC car: