After their three wins to date in the 2005 JWRC (Sardinia, Finland and Germany), Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were understandably keen to add a fourth win to their record this weekend on their home round in Catalunya.
At the same time, they were very much aware that all they needed to do was add a minimum of two points to their score to counter a possible JWRC win in Spain by Guy Wilks, the only driver capable of preventing them from wrapping up the series. Even so, the caution dictated by their objective didn't stop them from claiming fastest times on four of Friday's six stages and Sola moved into an early lead before falling back two places when he was handed a 1-minute penalty for having replaced his engine after the shakedown session.
Even if Guy Wilks had won, 3rd place would have been more than enough for Dani and Marc to secure the title, yet they resumed Saturday's action at the same quick pace and were fastest on SS8 before learning that Guy Wilks had erred on the same stage! After initial emotional celebrations at the following service halt, the C2 Super 1600 pair headed for the stages once again, now intent on adding a win on home soil to their JWRC title, despite trailing Mirco Baldacci by 26 seconds. Three stages later, all won by Sordo, the Citroen youngster was snapping at the heels of the San Marino driver who went on to make a mistake on the final test of Day 2.
All the Spaniard had to do after that was to keep clear of trouble over Sunday's three stages. However, as he has already shown in his home series, Dani is impermeable to pressure and a perfect run on Day 3 clinched both the JWRC title and victory. Today's success, the fifth for the C2 Super 1600 in this year's JWRC, puts a final seal of approval on the '2006' version of the car which will soon be available via Citroen Sport's Customer Competition Department.
At the age of just 22, four years after winning his very first rally, Dani Sordo has won both his national championship and the Junior world title in the same season, an achievement very reminiscent of that of another Citroen driver in 2001. Sebastien Loeb! It is also significant that in the sixteen rallies he has started this year with the C2 Super 1600 (Spanish and JWRC programmes), the Torrelavega-based driver hasn't put a single scratch on his car!
"I am absolutely delighted, but today's fantastic result was only to be expected," says Team Kronos Racing Manager Marc Van Dalen. "Dani is not only the fastest driver out there but he has also been the most consistent. Working with him has been an absolute pleasure and that has been helped by the team spirit that has marked our collaboration with Citroen Sport. I also want to say that Kris Meeke who hasn't been really lucky here, has participated a lot in this success with his win in Monte Carlo, his skills in testing, and his very good mood. "
Present in Catalunya, Carlos Sainz also appreciated his protege's performance: "This is a just reward for all the progress Dani has made this year. He has not only shown that he is quick on both asphalt and gravel, but that he is also astonishingly mature. What he has achieved at the age of 22 proves that he has lots of potential. He now needs to pass quickly on to the next level up. That said, both he and those who are going to observe him will need to be patient and give him time to learn a little more."