Martin Prokop wins in his Citroen C2 Super 1600 The 2008 RallyRACC Catalunya finished this afternoon after 353.62 competitive kilometres. The 18 special stages that made up the route provided a stern challenge for all the Citroen drivers. Martin...
Martin Prokop wins in his Citroen C2 Super 1600 The 2008 RallyRACC Catalunya finished this afternoon after 353.62 competitive kilometres. The 18 special stages that made up the route provided a stern challenge for all the Citroen drivers. Martin Prokop has emerged once more as the event winner, having won for the first time in Spain in 2006, and come very close to claiming victory again last year. Burkart and Gallagher finished third and fourth, accumulating some precious points for the championship.
Despite their significant lead of the championship, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were the people who lost out most from this rally. After damaging their C2 S1600 on Saturday's final stage, the Frenchmen were forced to retire. " It was a very big disappointment for Julien and myself, " said Sebastien. " We came into the rally knowing that we couldn't afford to make any mistakes. The advantage we built up over the first few stages meant that we were able to lead comfortably, with more than a minute over Prokop. Unfortunately though, we weren't immune to making a mistake and that is exactly what happened. Now we need just to put this behind us and move on. We've got Corsica in a few days time, and we need to be fully focussed on that. "
Martin Prokop, who had occupied second place from the start, therefore inherited the lead on the final morning of the rally. The Czech managed to control his advantage all the way to the finish, ending up with a XX second advantage over his closest rival. " In the end, it was a big satisfaction for both myself and my team, " said Martin. " This is another win to add to the one I gained in Finland, and it's also an excellent birthday present to myself !
The points I gained here have put me right back into the hunt for a podium position in the final championship standings, so I'm really pleased with the whole weekend. " Aaron Burkart also did a good job by finishing third amongst the Juniors. Jean-Francois Lienere, who is in charge of Citroen Sport's customer competition programme, pointed out : " The German is now the only driver who could deprive Sebastien Ogier of the Junior title, thanks to his result here in Spain. He found it hard to get into a decent rhythm at the start of the event, but it then all came together for him and he made sure of a good result. "
Irishman Shaun Gallagher finished fourth in his C2 Super 1600 on what was his final rally of the season. " I'm reasonably pleased with our result here as it is a fair reflection of our season as a whole, " he explained. " We had no major problems with the C2 Super 1600 throughout the year and we were consistent. Coming out of this event we're a provisional third place in the championship, and that fulfils my top-three objective that I set at the start of the year. Of course we'll have to keep an eye on what everyone else does in Corsica to know for sure how it will all pan out. "
Hans Weijs displayed a fault-free performance in his C2-R2 MAX right up until the final morning of the rally. Jean-Francois Lienere concluded : " Hans put in a remarkable run. He placed his C2-R2 MAX amongst the frontrunners on more than one occasion, moving up from 11th on Friday to sixth on Saturday evening. He showed an excellent turn of speed and was also able to profit from the mistakes of his rivals. Unfortunately he found a patch of loose gravel in the middle of a stage this morning, went off the road, and was forced to retire. " The other C2-R2 MAX, driven by Francesco Fanari, did not start the rally as the Italian felt ill. Nonetheless Fanari can claim the rookie title after his first season in the Juniors.