WRC

Tour de Corse Background/Notes

42nd Rallye de France (Tour de Corse) Official Site: http://www.sitec.fr/asacc/ --------------------------------------------------------------- Contents [Background Information] [The Leading Teams] [1997 Corsica Rally Overview] [1997 Corsica...

42nd Rallye de France (Tour de Corse) Official Site: http://www.sitec.fr/asacc/

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[Background Information] [The Leading Teams] [1997 Corsica Rally Overview] [1997 Corsica Rally Results (Top 10)] [Recent Winners] [Reference Sites and Further Information] [Subcribe/Unsubscribe Details]

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1998 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 6 (4 MAY - 6 MAY)

[Background Information]

Just 2 weeks after the rally of Catalunya the WRC teams find themselves on the Island of Corsica, France. Corsica has been part of the World Championship from the beginning. It's stages are renowned as the most twisty in the series, and combined with the abrasive and bumpy asphalt surface, teams will be pushed to the limit.

The closeness of the two events does not give teams much time to prepare and pace noting started a mere 6 days after the last event, not enough time for extensive testing or modifications. No one will be surprised if the F2 cars again put in a strong showing, so long as the conditions remain dry. Watch for the performances of Citroen and Peugeot.

This years rally will see drivers cover a total distance of 1,145.69 kms. There are 18 stages, 7 of which are run twice. The actual competitive stage distance is 399.18kms. Being the second asphalt event of the season the drivers will be familiar with their cars handling on this surface. Again much interest in the rally will be the performance of the F2 cars that can run equal times to the 4WD turbo WRCars. The actual rally takes place on the island of Corsica and thousands of fans from France and mainland Europe, flock to the event. The first and third legs are concentrated in the mountains south-east of Ajaccio, the island's capital. The second leg returns to Haute-Corse and the demanding roads of the Castagniccia region around Corte, on the eastern side of the island. The weather will be warm with a chance of rain, it can be very different high-up in the stages compared to service areas, tyre choices will be crucial.

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[The Leading Teams]

Toyota Castrol Team Team Toyota Europe http://www.tte.de

Just as the Spanish round of the WRC was championship leader Carlos Sainz's home rally, Corsica is his team mates Didier Auriol's home rally. And what an impressive record Auriol has, with 6 previous wins.

Coming off his previous win at Catalunya, Auriol will be brimming with confidence for this event. A win here will place him with the top 3 drivers and a genuine contender for the championship.

"Corsica is a very special place for me and, to go there with victory in Spain to my name, makes me very confident" admits Auriol, the 1994 World Champion. "Although my last win before Spain was in Corsica, in 1995, I never doubted that I still had the ability to win. Everything ran so well in Spain that it was quite easy to keep up a good pace - there was not a single problem with the car. In fact, I will be quite happy to take the car from Spain, leave it as it is and go straight to Corsica. After all I won in Corsica six times before!"

Unfortunately for Toyota, Didiers win at Catalunya did not give them any manufactures championship points as he was not one of the nominated drivers.

Sainz has competed 11 times in Corsica, he failed to finish just once and his lowest placing was 7th, he only has a solitary outright win but has finished 2nd four times.

The 3rd Corolla WRC car will not be the usual combination of Freddy Loix and Sven Smeets, they have been over looked for this event, despite their second placing at Catalunya finishing in front of Makinen, Sainz, Burns and all the F2 cars. The other Toyota WRC car is driven by Isolde Hlderied and Anne Pauwels.

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Ford Motorsport Ford Motorsport press releases http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Fords 100% reliability record in the 1998 World Rally Championship now has been broken. Both Juha Kankkunen and Bruno Thiry retired from the Rally of Catalunya. Ford had a terrible event, Kankkunen retired on SS16 after hitting a concrete pillar and Thiry retired with engine damage on SS18.

Juha has often struggled on the tight and twisty asphalt events and Corsica is no exception, his highest finish was 3rd.

The Escort is still considered the most reliable car in the world championship. It'll only be Thiry's second event back (after the Safari mishap) and he'll be looking for a return to form.

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Mitsubishi Ralliart http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart is looking to consolidate it's position as the leading manufacturer. Tommi Makinen and Richard Burns, will again head the Mitsubishi team.

The new Lancer Evolution V performed well in Catalunya and Makinen will be one of the favourites for this event. All drivers will be on the outlook for wondering local animals this year .. none more so then Tommi, he was running close to the lead last year when he crashed after hitting a cow!

" Corsica is quite different to Catalunya, but there is really no time to do any testing, which would be nice, because the car is very new. Still, I think we showed it can be good in Spain and I think we can hope to score a good result again." the Finn declared.

Burns has never driven in Corsica and even though reconnaissance gives drivers a look at the special stages, a lack local knowledge and previous experience will hamper the young Englishman.

" I've been to Corsica once before to see the stages and make gravel notes for another driver, and I'm looking forward to this rally. It's going to be fairly new to me though and I know this is going to be one of hardest rallies this year. I hope we can still give the team a good result." Burns said.

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Subaru World Rally Team 555 Subaru World Rally Team (media only) http://www.speedmedia.com

After Subaru's domination in Portugal, Catalunya was a real disappointment for them. Both McRae and Liatti retired due to mechanical failures.

Corsica has historically been an event where the 555 Subaru World Rally Team has not excelled, but the bumpy and abrasive all-asphalt surface will favour the Pirelli-shod Imprezas, and McRae's 1997 victory will give him added confidence.

Liatti has only driven Corsica 3 times (once in a Lancia HF Integral) his highest finish was 5th. Liatti is known as a bitumen specialist and his previous knowledge of the course, will assists his cause.

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[1997 Tour de Corse Overview]

Victory on the last stage for Colin McRae, his tenth WCR win. tyre choices in the unsettled weather conditions decided the results. McRae was the fastest driver but only led twice.

Peugeot 306 Maxi World 2-Litre cars led for most of-the way, despite frequent damp conditions: the non-registered W2L cars took three of the six main series point scoring places.

First WCR event ever less than 1,000km long. Many new stages for most top drivers.

World champion Tommi Makinen had a big accident after hitting a cow: Mitsubishi scored no points.

Carlos Saint's teammate Armin Schwatz had a terrible event amid rumours of his impending departure from the team. Ford led Group N from start to finish.

LEG 1 McRae lost an early tyre gamble, then bent a wheel. Sainz bent a front strut, Schwatz broke a driveshaft and went into a wall. Renault had disastrous problems with rear brakes. Two of the three Peugeot 106 Maxis retired. 1 Panizzi 1h25m57s, 2 Delecour +05s, 3 Sainz +19s, 4 McRae +22s, 5 Liatti +32s, 6 Makinen +38s.

W2L: Panizzi 1h25m27s. Group N: Santoni lh33m55s.

LEG 2 Makinen hit a cow causing his car to fall down to a river bed. Sainz was about to draw ahead but had brake problems so he ended the day tied for the lead with Francois Delecour. 1= Delecour & Sainz 2h59mO1s, 3 Panizzi +09s, 4 McRae +19s, 5 Liatti +1m33s, 6 Bugalski +4m22s.

W2L: Delecour 2h59mO1s. Group N: Santoni 3h14m59s.

LEG 3 Four different drivers had a realistic chance of winning; three actually led on the day's six stages! Saint was so upset at losing he left the island immediately.

1 McRae 4h31mO8s, 2 Saint +O8s, 3 Panizzi +38s, 4 Delecour +55s, 5 Liatti +1m59s, 6 Bugalski +6m40s.

W2L: Panizzi 4h31m46s. Group N: Santoni 4h57m48s.

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[1997 Tour de Corse Results (Top 10)]

1997 TOUR de CORSE RESULTS

Pos Driver             NAT  CAR                      TOTAL TIME
1   Colin Mcrae        GB   Subaru Impreza WRCar     4h.31m.08s.
2   Carlos Sainz       E    Ford Escort WRCar        4h.31m.lGs.
3   Gilles Panizzi     F    Peugeot 306 Maxi         4h.31m.46s.
4   Francois Delecour  F    Peugeot 306 Maxi         4h.32m.03s.
5   Piero Liatti       I    Subaru Impreza WRCar     4h.33m.07s.
6   Philippe Bugalski  F    Renault Maxi Megane      4h.37m.48s.
7   Serge Jordan       F    Renault Maxi Megane      4h.33m.36s.
8   Uwe Nittel         D    Mitsubishi Lancer Evo    4h.40m.48s.
9   Armin Schwarz      D    Ford Escort WRCar        4h.41m.43s.
10  Francis Mariani    F    Subaru Impreza 555       4h.44m.55s.

Group N Winner 14 Jean-Marie Santonil F Ford Escort RS Cosworth 4h.57m.48s.

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[Recent Winners]

RECENT WINNERS

1997 Colin McRae       Subaru Impreza WRCar     (90.29kph)
1996 Philippe Bugalski Renault Maxi Megane      (90.48kph)
1995 Didier Auriol     Toyota Celica GT-Four    (91.58kph)
1994 Didier Auriol     Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD  (91.32kph)
1993 Francois Delecour Ford Escort RS Cosworth  (89.12kph)
1992 Didier Auriol     Lancia HF Integrale      (91.31kph)
1991 Carlos Sainz      Toyota Celica GT-Four    (88.47kph)
1990 Didier Auriol     Lancia Delta Integrale   (81.17kph)
1989 Didier Auriol     Lancia Delta Integrale   (86.94kph)
1988 Didier Auriol     Ford Sierra RS Cosworth  (86.64kph)
1987 Bernard Beguin    BMW M3                   (82.96kph)

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Reference Sites and further information:

1998 World Rally Championship coverage WRC Infosystem: http://www.travelnet.fi/wrc/ Rallysport.com: http://www.rallysport.com Rally Network: http://homepage.idx.com.au/rallynet/ FIA info: http://www.fia.com/presse/ralnew-a/lista.htm

555 Subaru World Rally Team (media only)  http://www.speedmedia.com
Team Toyota Europe  http://www.tte.de
Mitsubishi Ralliart  http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.jp/motorsports/
Ford Motorsport press releases  http://www.motorsport.co.uk/ford.html

Mobil 1 British Rally Championship http://www.motorsport.co.uk

Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA) http://www.fia.com

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Gilles Panizzi , Didier Auriol , François Delecour , Armin Schwarz , Philippe Bugalski , Juha Kankkunen , Piero Liatti , Sven Smeets , Uwe Nittel
Teams Citroën World Rally Team