CitroÃ«n and Sainz increase the gap Carlos Sainz is the new leader of the Drivers' Championship after he clinched today a fantastic second place in the very last stage of the Tour de Corse - Rallye de France. Finishing fifth, Colin McRae...
Citroën and Sainz increase the gap
Carlos Sainz is the new leader of the Drivers' Championship after he clinched today a fantastic second place in the very last stage of the Tour de Corse - Rallye de France. Finishing fifth, Colin McRae brought four valuable points to Citroën who increase their lead to eight points in the Manufacturers Championship.
For the final leg the competitors headed South towards the Taravo Valley for four special stages representing 112 competitive kilometres in total. The weather conditions remained as unpredictable as the previous day : the roads were damp and slippery in the first loop, then it rained heavily before the second.
Sébastien Loeb set the leg's four fastest times becoming the best performer of the rally. He proved that yesterday's misfortune was forgotten and that he was ready to defend his title chances until the finish line.
Each of the three other Citroën drivers had a mission : the duel between Sainz and Duval for second place, battle for fourth between McRae, Grönholm, and Panizzi, and fight for the final Championship point between Bugalski and Burns.
Before the final two stages, Carlos Sainz was lying only a small tenth of a second behind François Duval. He took the brilliant decision to select dry tyres. After the penultimate test - completely flooded - the gap between the two drivers increased to ten seconds and it looked like the Spaniard had lost his bet. But as motivated as ever, Carlos overtook François in the final test and finished second. "It's fantastic. Nothing better could happen : I will start in Catalonia, my home rally, in the leading position and the team too."
Facing two determined rivals, Colin McRae had to keep them at bay and score important points. The Scot did well despite Marcus Grönholm passing him by a hair's breath. Colin brings four valuable points to Citroën's basket. "Since Sébastien went off, we had to secure a good position. We did it and I'm happy to help the team in this good result."
Philippe Bugalski did not manage to keep Richard Burns behind him to prevent the former Championship leader from scoring a point. He explained : "This Tour de Corse was one of the toughest I contested. I'm happy to be at the finish and satisfied with today's times. It's encouraging for Catalonia".
Team boss Guy Fréquelin was extremely pleased as well : "We were very disappointed for Sébastien, but Carlos and Colin performed well. They did a good rally especially regarding tyres choices which were very tricky. With Carlos and Citroën leading both Championships we couldn't be more motivated for what's coming next "
Telefónica Movistar, Michelin, Magneti-Marelli, Kinetic, OZ, AIS and Citroën Financement are the partners of Team Citroën Total in the World Rally Championship