Defending Turkish Rally winner Carlos Sainz says this year's event could be the closest contested rally of the 2004 season because it poses a relatively new course for teams and drivers.

Defending Turkish Rally winner Carlos Sainz says this year's event could be the closest contested rally of the 2004 season because it poses a relatively new course for teams and drivers.


The Spanish veteran, who has built a reputation for winning new events to the World Rally Championship calendar, is likely to be among the contenders for victory again this year.


"What makes Turkey interesting is that it puts all the teams on an equal footing," he said. "This is only the championship's second visit to the country, and testing is not allowed here. Citroën knows the event as well as the other teams, which leads me to think that we will be in a position to fight for victory."


"There is no real secret (to winning) in Turkey," the Spaniard added. "Certainly no more than on the other hot and rough rounds. You have to have a strong, fast, competitive car and keep up a quick pace. The key is not to make mistakes and, above all, a reliable car. It could be extremely hot, in which case it will be a punishing event for both crews and cars."


Meanwhile, Citroën motorsport boss Guy Frequelin has courted controversy by suggesting that changes need to be made to the new SupeRally-style restart system in a bid "to prevent teams gaining a potential advantage".


The ability for competitors who retire from an early leg of a rally to rejoin the event and complete the remaining stages - albeit without the ability to score championship points - was introduced on the recent Acropolis Rally as part of a plan to introduce a system which awards points for each day of a rally in 2005.


Frequelin is concerned that if a team's driver retires from an event and then runs in the leading pack on subsequent days, he could act as a gravel crew for the team's remaining driver/s. Gravel crews have been banned from the WRC this year as part of a plan by the FIA, world motorsport's governing body, to cut costs.


"As far as the dry run of the SupeRally system goes, certain details need to be looked at closely, notably concerning restart orders," Frequelin said. "With gravel note crews now banned, we mustn't find ourselves in a situation where a driver who retires re-joins among the first on the road and is able to serve as a gravel note crew for a team-mate still in the running."