Martin Prokop dominates amongst the Citroens The start of the 52nd Rallye de France Tour de Corse got underway in warm weather today. For the second consecutive year, Corsica is hosting the final round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.
Martin Prokop dominates amongst the Citroens
The start of the 52nd Rallye de France Tour de Corse got underway in warm weather today. For the second consecutive year, Corsica is hosting the final round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. The day's six stages, split into two identical loops of three, were all to the south of Ajaccio in the area around Propriano. After 119.92 competitive kilometres, Czech driver Martin Prokop last weekend's winner in Spain is the best-classified Citroen driver following the first day.
" I definitely needed to be quick straight out of the box this morning, " said Martin Prokop at final service in the port of Ajaccio. " The championship title is out of my reach as I cannot score enough points to win it, but the other podium places are still available. That's why I need to get the best result possible and score as many points as I can here. This morning, I felt confident straight away with my Citroen C2 Super 1600. Maybe I had a little less stress than my rivals who are fighting for the title but this allowed me to find a really good and safe pace right from the opening stage. "
Martin Prokop finished the leg just nine seconds ahead of the championship leader. Sebastien Ogier, who ended up fourth, drove a sensible rally. " I started the first stage with the idea of just finishing ahead of my championship rival, " said the Frenchman. " My championship score means that I cannot afford to take any risks if I want to remain as leader. Now I just need to keep up a consistent pace with my C2 Super 1600. "
Aaron Burkart, who has ended up fifth tonight, is Sebastien Ogier's only title rival. The German has only four points less than Ogier in the championship, which ends here in Corsica this weekend. " It wasn't an easy day for me, " explained Aaron. " I didn't really feel comfortable on these roads. The second loop of stages went better, but I'm not happy with my position tonight. Now I need to concentrate on tomorrow in order not to let my title chances slip away. "
Hans Weijs, the final JWRC driver in a Citroen on this event, has placed his C2-R2 MAX in 14th place. On his first Tour de Corse in the Junior Championship, the Dutchman did not quite manage to find the feeling he needed to claim a good result at the end of the day. He said : " I don't know why, but it took me a little while to get into the groove of the rally this morning. I made a small mistake in a corner that cost me time afterwards, because I was then doubly cautious even in places where I did not need to be ! I hope that day two will be kinder to me, on my last rally of the year in the Citroen C2-R2 MAX. "
Tomorrow's action consists of 122.84 competitive kilometres. The drivers will again tackle two loops of three stages, in an identical format to today. Jean-Francois Lienere, who is in charge of Citroen Sport's customer competition programme, commented : " Generally speaking, we're pleased with the performance of our cars on this first day of the Rallye de France Tour de Corse. On the technical side, the results are looking encouraging too. Now we just need to keep it up all the way to the end ! "