Julien Pressac targets podium finish Following the untimely retirement of pacesetters Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson, the CitroÃ«n C2 Super 1600's hopes of a strong finish in Finland now lie on the shoulders of Julien Pressac and his co-driver...
Julien Pressac targets podium finish
Following the untimely retirement of pacesetters Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson, the Citroën C2 Super 1600's hopes of a strong finish in Finland now lie on the shoulders of Julien Pressac and his co-driver Jack Boyère who are 4th in the JWRC standings this evening .
Sunshine at last put in a welcome appearance today, but the second leg turned out to be much less glorious than yesterday's for Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson, despite a well-paced morning which had seen the provisional leaders continue to pull clear at the top: "I took it very cautiously," confided Kris after the day's first loop of three stages. "I took it easily through the difficult sections and then accelerated over the faster, cleaner portions, especially the Ouninpohja stages where the car permitted me to turn it up a notch..." At that point, Kris enjoyed an advantage of almost half a minute over his closest chaser and was able to think in terms of controlling from in front, but without losing sight of the fact that straying even slightly off the ideal line could spell problems. Prior to the start, the Ulsterman himself had underlined the importance of "finding the ideal speed in Finland and resisting the temptation of overdoing it which can quickly see you lose too much ground..."
However, second time through the Ouninpohja Länsi stage on which he believed he had the edge over his rivals , Kris unfortunately made a mistake. "On landing after a jump that I took too quickly I damaged the front end of the car, but I didn't realise that the radiator and oil cooling system had also been affected," explained the Citroën driver. "It was only at the end of the stage and before heading directly into the next one that I saw the damage for myself. There was very little time and we set off for the following test, but around 7km into Ouninpohja Itä the engine oil pressure suddenly fell..." Citroën Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton was immensely disappointed. "I'm as sad today as I was happy yesterday," he confirms. "Kris' retirement seriously jeopardises our chances of winning the Junior World Rally Championship with the C2 super 1600 despite the fact that it has repeatedly shown its potential and competitiveness on all types of surface. Given the way things have turned, I obviously can't help but be disappointed."
Happily, it's been a more positive day for the other Citroën C2 Super 1600 of Julien Pressac and Jack Boyère who completed Day 2 in 4th position, 42.4 seconds off the podium. "The conditions were better than yeste rday and we've at last been able to sample the real Finnish roller-coaster ride, and notably the celebrated jumps of Ouninpohja," said Julien. "I was able to drive at a completely different pace today and my stage times are improving, although I have to say that my lack of local knowledge still doesn't allow me to be a consistent front- runner! I'll just try to stay focused tomorrow; a podium finish is not impossible."
At the wheel of their C2-R2, Fabien Fiandino and Sabrina De Castelli put in another fault less run today and the Citroën youngsters are this evening 9th in the JWRC standings. "I was a little apprehensive of the Ouninpohja stages before the start, probably because of all I've read about them in the rally mags," teased Fabien! "My fleeting fear quickly made way for pleasure though. We enjoyed every second of it and we tried to show the potential of the Citroën C2 -R2. Let's just hope it keeps going well tomorrow."