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WRC Turkey starts its engines on Thursday

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The 11th leg of the World Rally Championship (WRC) will begin in southwestern Turkey on Thursday with Toyota driver Ott Tanak currently in the top spot with a healthy 33-point lead.

The four-day Rally Turkey will be held in the Mediterranean resort town of Marmaris and features 17 special stages (SS) and 310.1 competitive kilometers in a route of 988.5 km.

According to the race's website, there are several minor revisions to the format from 2018, including the introduction of a 17-km Kızlan stage (SS10 and SS13) that winds its way around the coastline. Also, the Çiçekli Stage (SS16) has been moved from Friday to Sunday morning and will be run in the opposite direction from 2018 ahead of the Wolf Power Stage finale.

The rally will wave the starting flag with a ceremonial start at Marmaris Square, followed by a super special stage to attract thousands of spectators before Friday's on-stage action.

Teams will face six special stages on Friday and Saturday.

Although a short stage by rally standards, Datça offers incredible scenery and spectacular backdrops to the sea.

Two runs through the 7.22 km Marmaris stage -- the second acting as the Wolf Power Stage -- Gökçe (11.32 km) and Çiçekli (13.20 km) will ensure the final section on Sunday.

Rally Turkey first joined the WRC calendar in 2003 and was held until 2010 before returning to the calendar in 2018. On the event's return last year, Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja claimed a 22.3-second victory in their Toyota Yaris WRC.

The official candidate event in 2017 was won by the Turkish duo of Orhan Avcıoğlu and Burçin Korkmaz.

As the rally is entering its last four races, every point is important for the championship battle. Rally Turkey is set to be followed by Rally England, Spain, and Australia.

Here are the points standings of the top 10 WRC drivers:

1. Ott Tanak 205 Toyota

2. Thierry Neuville 172 Hyundai

3. Sebastien Ogier 165 Citroen

4. Kris Meeke 80 Toyota

5. Andreas Mikkelsen 79 Hyundai

6. Elfyn Evans 78 Ford

7. Jari-Matti Latvala 74 Toyota

8. Teemu Suninen 70 Ford

9. Dani Sordo 62 Hyundai

10. Esapekka Lappi 62 Citroen

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