Avcioglu is Poland ERC-bound as head rules heart
Turkey’s Orhan Avcioglu will skip his country’s round of the world championship to avoid jeopardising his maiden FIA European Rally Championship campaign.
Istanbul-based Avcioglu is embarking on a full-season ERC bid in 2018 as he builds his experience of all events on the calendar ahead of a planned concerted assault on the championship in 2019.
Rally Turkey Marmaris, which Avcioglu won when it counted as a world candidate event and round of the FIA Balkan Rally Trophy in 2017, takes place from today (13 September) with PZM Rally Poland following from 21-23 September.
The Toksport WRT driver explained his decision. “I sacrificed my home event for Poland and the ERC. Once we commit to a series we would like to try to be good there and I am trying to do all of the events [in the ERC] so I get a good knowledge and have the experience for next year.
“Obviously I would really want to participate [in Turkey] but to do it back-to-back [with Poland] would require a huge budget. The budget for Turkey on its own is already quite high and to do it and Poland the following week would require even more resources from our side.
“We are on a fairly tight budget to try to do the whole European championship. Thinking about next year and thinking about the future [it’s] the right decision to go to Poland because you never know what I may need next year in terms of points and championship position.
“Emotionally we wanted to excuse ourselves from Poland and try to show what a local hero can do in Turkey but there is always next year for Marmaris.”
While Avcioglu won’t be competing in Turkey he will be on hand to support his British team-mate Chris Ingram, who is contesting the event in Toksport’s third ŠKODA Fabia R5.
It will be the ERC Junior Under 27 champion and ERC Junior Under 28 title contender’s first world championship outing in an R5 car and will provide useful gravel experience for Ingram – whose first and last loose-surface outing in the Czech machine was on the ERC season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye in March – ahead of Rally Poland.