WRC

Corsica Rally Michelin race report

TOUR OF CORSICA Sunday October 21st 2001 End of Rally Report Leader practically from start to finish in Corsica, Jesus Puras today collected the first WRC win of his career. The Citroën-Michelin driver pulled slightly clear of the chasing ...

TOUR OF CORSICA
Sunday October 21st 2001
End of Rally Report

Leader practically from start to finish in Corsica, Jesus Puras today collected the first WRC win of his career. The Citroën-Michelin driver pulled slightly clear of the chasing Peugeot- LMichelins of Gilles Panizzi and Didier Auriol by the end of the opening leg before consolidating his advantage on Day 2. A perfectly paced run despite delicate, damp conditions on the final leg saw him head a Michelin emphatic one-two-three at the Ajaccio finish. Firmly focused on boosting Peugeot's chances in the race for the 2001 Manufacturers' world crown, his two French rivals steered their 206 WRC-Michelins to maximum championship points for the second event in a row, the team's avowed objective prior to the start of its home round.

Ten years after his WRC debut in Portugal in 1981, Jesus Puras today savoured the delights of popping open the champagne on the highest step of the podium for the first time of his career at world level. After pulling out a slender advantage on Day 1, and although Peugeot-Michelin's Gilles Panizzi and Gilles Panizzi never left the Spaniard much breathing space, the Citroën-Michelin driver's lead rarely looked fragile, even when rain made brief appearances during legs two and three.

It has to be said that Peugeot's duo was especially wary of taking any undue risks inasmuch as the team's target was clearly to bring home as many points as possible in order to put the French make back in the title fight. Mission accomplished, for with Citroën 'invisible' in the WRC championship calculations, second and third for Panizzi and Auriol at the chequered flag was worth a full sixteen points, the team's third 'maximum score' this season after similar performances in Spain and Italy. And with provisional leaders Ford failing to add to their score in France, that means Peugeot has bounced well and truly back into second place in the table, just seven points adrift of their British-based rivals with two rounds remaining.

Meanwhile, it's a status quo situation at the sharp end of the Drivers' rankings. Richard Burns, the first non-Michelin driver at the finish in Corsica (a full 4m53s behind Puras!), was the only championship candidate to (marginally) increase his score this weekend, which means the top five drivers are still split by a mere thirteen points (a win is worth ten) going into the Rallies of Australia and Great Britain. Provisional leaders Tommi Mäkinen (Mitsubishi-Michelin) and Colin McRae (Ford) continue to top the Drivers' standings despite their blank score in the French round. Colin McRae finished the event, but outside of the top-ten, while the Finn crashed out at the end of Day 1. Carlos Sainz (Ford) was forced out on Leg 1 also when he lost all the oil from the engine of his Ford Focus, while Harri Rovanperä, driving a privately-run 206 WRC, finished just outside the points in 7th place.

Although Skoda-Michelin was unfortunate to see the cars of Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry join the retirements list by the end of Day 2, Hyundai-Michelin was delighted to see both Accent WRCs pick up asphalt points for the first time thanks to Piero Liatti (9th) and Alister McRae (10th). Finally, a special mention to Frenchman Sébastien Loeb (Citroën-Michelin) who, two weeks after his attention-grabbing 2nd place in Sanremo, and a week after securing his national title, clinched the inaugural FIA Super 1600 Championship. He came out on top of a rally-long scrap with Italian rival Andrea Dallavilla (Fiat-Michelin) to put the final result beyond doubt with one round to go. HOMAGE... Flirting constantly with the limit on one of the WRC calendar's most demanding events clearly calls for unreserved admiration. Michelin is proud of the osmosis between the drivers, their thorougbred machines and their tyres that enabled the leading trio to first pull clear and then win by such an emphatic margin. It was also an osmosis that allowed them to put almost completely to the back of their mind the third of these three fundamental performance factors over the past three days in Corsica. GRAND-SLAM... The all-Michelin podium in Corsica today clinches Michelin's third consecutive asphalt grand-slam thanks to an uninterrupted run of wins in Monte Carlo, Catalonia, Sanremo and Corsica in 1999, 2000 and 2001. VARIETY... At this stage of the championship, Michelin's eight wins so far this year have been scored...

...with six different drivers (Mäkinen 3, Rovanperä, Auriol, Grönhlom, Panizzi and Puras),

...with three different manufacturer-partners (Peugeot-Michelin 4, Mitsubishi-Michelin 3 and Citroën-Michelin)

...and on all types of surface (winter asphalt, ice/snow, mud, smooth gravel, rough gravel and clear asphalt).

SUPER 1600... Congratulations to Sébastien Loeb on his victory in the inaugural FIA Super 1600 Championship with one round remaining.

<pre> 2001 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS AFTER 11 ROUNDS

DRIVERS                 Total   MC  S  P  E RA CY GR EAK FIN NZ  I  F AUS GB
Tommi Mäkinen (FIN)     40      10  0 10  4  3  0  3  10   0  0  0  0  -  -
Colin McRae             40       0  0  0  0 10 10 10   0   4  6  0  0  -  -
Richard Burns (GB)      34       0  0  3  0  6  6  0   0   6 10  0  3  -  -
Carlos Sainz    (E)     33       6  4  6  2  4  4  0   0   1  3  3  0  -  -
Harri Rovanpera (FIN)   27       - 10  0  -  0  0  4   6   3  4  0  0  -  -
Gilles Panizzi (F)      22       0  -  0  6  -  -  0   -   0  - 10  6  -  -
Didier Auriol F         19       0  0  0 10  0  0  0   0   0  1  4  4  -  -
Marcus Grönholm (FIN)   16       0  0  4  0  0  0  0   0  10  2  0  0  -  -
MANUFACTURERS           Total   MC  S  P  E RA CY GR EAK FIN NZ  I  F AUS GB
Ford                    83       6  8  2 14 14 10  0   6  10  7  0  -  --
Peugeot-Michelin        76       0  0  4 16  0  0  0   6  13  5 16 16  -  -
Mitsubishi-Michelin     67      13 10 10  7  4  3  6  13   0  0  1  0  -  -
Subaru                  55       0  4  3  1  8  6  6   0   7 11  2  7  -  -
Skoda-Michelin          15       5  1  0  0  0  1  4   4   0  0  0  -  -
Hyundai-Michelin        13       2  3  3  0  0  2  0   -   0  0  0 13  -  -

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Harri Rovanpera , Gilles Panizzi , Didier Auriol , Marcus Gronholm , Alister McRae , Sébastien Loeb , Armin Schwarz , Jesus Puras , Andrea Dallavilla , Piero Liatti
Teams Citroën World Rally Team