In a year that has seen the Citroen team establish a long list of new WRC records, Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and the Xsara WRC today picked up an emphatic, memorable win over the challenging mountain roads of Corsica, winning every single stage...
In a year that has seen the Citroen team establish a long list of new WRC records, Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and the Xsara WRC today picked up an emphatic, memorable win over the challenging mountain roads of Corsica, winning every single stage in the process for the first time in world class rallying's history.
After wrapping up their second consecutive title in Japan* three weeks ago, Seb and Daniel were glad to have the chance of going into their home round with the pressure off in their bid to score their first victory in Corsica, one of the few events they had yet to win. " Seb can now focus on the Manufacturers' title," said Guy Frequelin before the start. "I know he really wants to win the Tour of Corsica and that's fine so long as it doesn't mean taking excessive risks. The two objectives are compatible. He is quite capable of handling this sort of situation."
Assisted once again both by their impeccably reliable Xsara and by their Michelin tyres, Seb and Daniel effectively succeeded in keeping both objectives in mind from start to finish. Even on Day 1, as they pushed to pull out an early lead, they never lost sight of the importance of the Manufacturers' title and their emphatic win extends Citroen's lead at the top of the table to 30 points.
At the same time, this weekend has seen them improve their own personal statistics: Seb's 19th WRC win makes him the sixth most successful driver in the championship's history and he is now just seven victories short of the current record-holder Carlos Sainz. The 2005 season alone has seen the Frenchman and his Monaco-born co-driver extend their record by 12 additional podiums (including 11 in a row) and 9 additional wins (including 6 in a row).
"Everyone was expecting me to win in Corsica, so I had to do something a little different," joked Seb before continuing more seriously: "I really wanted to win here, not only because this is my home rally but also because I love the Corsican stages. I admit that at the beginning of the season the two objectives I set myself were to win in Finland and Corsica. Marcus [Gronholm] proved the man to beat in Finland, but like him I am very pleased to have won my home round, with a little touch of panache. What makes me even happier is having been able to share my joy with that of the Citroen team during this extraordinary season. They are a fantastic bunch, always very, very motivated. They really deserve this result, as well as a third Manufacturers' title and we will do our best to wrap that up next time out..."
Obviously very happy too, Guy Frequelin couldn't however conceal the fact that he had... "mixed feelings. Sebastien and Daniel once again lived up to the high expectations everyone had in them. But I am disappointed for Francois. He wasn't feeling very well this morning. I therefore suggested that he didn't try to catch Petter Solberg, and that he should even let Stephane Sarrazin pass if he got close. He was totally free to slow if he wished... He now needs to put this behind him very quickly and refocus on the main objective which is still to win a third Manufacturers' title..."