The rock-strewn mountain roads on the country’s Turquoise Coast near Marmaris took a heavy toll on competitors. Kopecký, who won the WRC’s main support category here 12 months ago, was not exempt en route to building a 1min 22.8sec lead in a Skoda Fabia
After puncturing two tyres on the opening speed test of this afternoon’s repeated loop, the Czech drove cautiously through the final two stages with no more spares onboard. He survived but his mid-leg lead of almost three minutes was slashed by Gus Greensmith.
Greensmith punctured twice himself on his debut appearance in the new Ford Fiesta R5 but won all three afternoon tests.
Kalle Rovanperä led after Thursday night’s curtain-raising speed test, but the championship leader rolled his Fabia in this morning’s opening test. He later retired with three punctures when carrying only two spares in his Fabia.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz (pictured below) led WRC 2 by more than three minutes after an exemplary drive in his Fabia. The Pole won all three of this morning’s stages and avoided trouble on the afternoon’s rough roads to head Marco Bulacia by 3min 04.0sec.
Bulacia was within 40sec of Kajetanowicz before the young Bolivian stopped to change a wheel in the penultimate stage. He ended 1min 34.1sec clear of Fabio Andolfi, who did the same in both SS2 and SS3. The Italian plunged to ninth but won all three afternoon stages to charge back to third.
Diego Salvi was more than eight minutes back in fourth ahead of Henning Solberg, who retired after breaking a broken driveshaft, and home hero Burak Çukarova.
Retirements included Pedro, Gaurav Gill and Deniz Fahri, while Bugra Banaz suffered the heartbreak of watching his Fiesta burn out after it caught fire on the liaison section to the final stage.