IRC: Citroen leg one summary

37th Barum Rally Zlin (August 24-26, 2007) Leg 1: An almost perfect day for Simon and the C2! The long opening leg of the 2007 Barum Rally, which featured more than 160km of against- the-clock action, saw Simon Jean-Joseph, Jack...

37th Barum Rally Zlin (August 24-26, 2007)

Leg 1: An almost perfect day for Simon and the C2! The long opening leg of the 2007 Barum Rally, which featured more than 160km of against- the-clock action, saw Simon Jean-Joseph, Jack Boyère and their Citroen C2 Super 1600 dominate Class A6 reserved for two-wheel drive cars thanks to a score of eight fastest times in their category from the nine stages contested so far. The only down side to what was otherwise a perfect day for the Citroen was a brake bleeder problem on SS8 which lost them three minutes and saw them fall back a number of places in the overall standings.

The rally kicked off on Friday evening with the traditional start ceremony followed by the super-special which ran through the centre of the host town, Zlin. The 10km appetiser saw Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère continue on the momentum of their recent successful run to pull immediately clear at the top of the two-wheel drive category and put their Citroen C2 Super 1600 amongst the leading four-wheel drive machines. Indeed, the Czech event is the eighth round of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and the sixth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) which means that the Citroen crew yet again faces stiff opposition, not only from their usual rivals but also from the many quick locals competing on their home event.

Despite the strong entry, Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère today provided further evidence of their car's potential first suggested by their time on yesterday evening's super-special. The fine summer sunshine brought out crowds reminiscent of Portugal or even Argentina as the French pair proceeded to dominate Class A6 and also put the cat amongst the pigeons amongst the many four-wheel drive runners. "It's tough, but we're hanging on in there," commented Simon at the midday break after adjusting the settings of his Citroen C2 Super 1600's suspension. "The roads here are very fast and the numerous bumpy portions don't facilitate finding the ideal set-up." Along with members of the PH Sport team and with the support of the Citroen Sport technicians present on the event, the Martinique-based driver profited from each of the day's three service halts to fine-tune the C2's settings.

His near-perfect run hit trouble, however, when his front right brake bleed screw broke on SS8, losing him more than three minutes that unfortunately dropped him from 9th to 23 rd overall. "It's such a shame," lamented Simon at this evening's service halt. "Since yesterday's start, Jack and I have been thoroughly enjoying these asphalt stages which are very fast and also extremely bumpy. It's the first time we've come across conditions like this with the Citroen C2 Super 1600 and we have spent the day working with the team to adjust the set-up accordingly. Hopefully, tomorrow will be another day! There are still six stages to come and a hundred or so kilometres to try to move back up the leaderboard and attempt to score as many ERC points as possible which is our main objective here."

Citroen Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton underlines that the Citroen C2 Super 1600 crew's overnight position doesn't do justice to their strong run: "Simon and Jack have driven consistently and intelligently all day, keeping the European Championship at the forefront of their minds. Unfortunately, their good performance has been poorly rewarded. I am so disappointed, both for them and for everyone in the team."

-credit: citroen

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Series RALLY