A great second place for the Xsara Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti finished in second place on Rally Argentina after todays's third leg. With this excellent result, CitroÃ«n comfortably holds second in the Manufacturer's Championship. Carlos Sainz...
A great second place for the Xsara
Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti finished in second place on Rally Argentina after todays's third leg. With this excellent result, Citroën comfortably holds second in the Manufacturer's Championship. Carlos Sainz gained one position and now lies third overall in the Drivers standings.
The South-American round of the FIA World Rally Championship will however leave a "bitter taste" to the Citroën team. Team boss Guy Fréquelin was not even thinking of denying this fact : "Before the rally we wanted to have two cars in the top five, including one on the podium. Saturday afternoon this target was achievable when Sébastien was fifth and Carlos was leading."
The situation changed within less than an hour. Carlos and Marc were given a one minute penalty as a result of checking into the penultimate service one minute early, and Sébastien went off the road in the dust on stage 20. "I am far from being angry at the crews," explained the Citroën Sport boss. "Everybody can make a mistake, and what I would like to remember from this rally is that the Xsara was equalling our best competitors' cars on this terrain. This is good for future events. Carlos has showed what a motivated and determined performer he is. Sébastien has also surprised all of us with his skills and his talent. I deplore he is not at the finish, because to keep contact with the front-runners of the Championship, it's very clear that it's crucial to have two cars in the points all the time. "
As Carlos was so close to winning the event for his 170th rally, he saw all his chances disappear in a few fatal seconds. He could have been the most successful rally driver with a 26th win.
He reacted as the champion he is and fought until the last metre to finish second in the end.
Today he stood on the 86th podium of his career : "The Xsara was taking part in Rally Argentina for the first time with only one test undergone last year. The car performed well and was reliable. I attacked 100% from the start until the finish. I think we made a good rally but this mistake is costing us the victory. I am sincerely sorry for the team, but we have proved this is very encouraging for the future events."
Telefónica Movistar, Michelin, Magneti-Marelli, Kinetic, OZ, AIS and Citroën Financement are the partners of Team Citroën Total in the World Rally Championship