David Holder ready for the heat at Rally Turkey
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David Holder’s global rally adventure is set to provide some fresh challenges in Turkey this weekend.
The return of Rally Turkey to the World Rally Championship for the first time since 2010 also provides the venue for the final round of the Junior World Rally Championship.
Holder (Mt Maunganui) and his Hamilton-based co-driver Jason Farmer will line up against 12 other junior crews driving identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars to chase double points in the final round of the championship.
The base for the rally is the city of Marmaris — a Mediterranean port and holiday resort about 200km south of Istanbul in the south-west of the country. It’s an entirely different region than those previously used for WRC Rally Turkey with stages mainly in the mountains of the Mugla province where conditions are expected to the rough and hot.
Based on the pre-rally information, Holder — the 2016 New Zealand rally champion — is preparing for long stages, hot temperatures and some rocky stages on mountain roads as the main characteristics in a rally that will be new to the field of 52 crews.
‘‘We’re expecting it to be rough from looking at the in-car [video]. The main thing will be working out where you want to go hard and where you don’t,’’ said Holder.
‘‘The first stage on Friday morning is 38km long so it will be important to make a good start and there’s also a 36km stage on the second day.
‘‘The temperatures will be a challenge. It’s going to be 30degC or above so I’ve been in the sauna and also biking in a heated room trying to prepare for that. We haven’t really had conditions like that anywhere this year and it makes it tough heading over there from our winter.’’
Holder and Farmer are in 11th place in the Junior Championship standings after four of the five rallies with the highlight of their season being a podium finish in Portugal.
‘‘My objective for Turkey is to try and set fast stage times,’’ said Holder.
‘‘Even with double points the overall result won’t make a big difference to us in the championship unless something unbelievably dramatic happens.’’
After four rallies in Sweden, Corsica, Portugal and Finland, Holder says the junior series has been a steep learning curve.
‘‘I’ve learnt a lot this year and it has challenged me in a lot of ways.
‘‘We’ve had to work really hard since Coromandel [the most recent NZ Championship event in mid-August] to get the funds together for Turkey.’’
Holder is trying a new approach on the rally by writing a set of pace notes for the special stages using the in-car video footage made available by the rally organisers.
‘‘That’s something Hayden [Paddon] has offered some advice about. It’s a new way to write pace notes and also a good way to learn and remember the stages.’’
The rally starts with a 2.45km street stage on Thursday evening (Friday morning NZ time) and the Friday route is a loop of three stages used twice which opens with the 38.1km Cetibeli stage — the longest of the rally.
There’s a similar format on Saturday with another loop of three stages to the west of Marmaris including the 36.0km Yesilbelde stage. The Sunday sprint of four stages provides 35km of competition with the 7.12km Power Stage actually finishing at the Asparan service park.