Winning his home round of the World Rally Championship was always a priority for the recently-crowned Drivers' ChampionSebastien Loeb (Citroen -Michelin), and the Frenchman rose to the occasion in style by setting fastest time over all twelve...
Winning his home round of the World Rally Championship was always a priority for the recently-crowned Drivers' ChampionSebastien Loeb (Citroen -Michelin), and the Frenchman rose to the occasion in style by setting fastest time over all twelve stages to score an emphatic win this afternoon on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Toni Gardemeister (Ford-Michelin) finished on the podium for the fourth time this year, while Norway's Petter Solberg (Subaru) took 3rd. With two rounds of the 2005 championship remaining, Citroen- Michelin finished just 6 points short of a third consecutive Manufacturers' title .
Sebastien Loeb continued to make his mark on the 2005 season this afternoon. After winning eight rounds since the start of the year, including a run of six on the trot, and after wrapping up his second Drivers' title in two years with three rounds to go, the Frenchman added a ninth win to his record today thanks to a run that saw him post the best time over every one of the 2005 Tour of Corsica's stages. A first in world class rallying!
At best, the weather forecasters predicted showery weather over the Ajaccio region this weekend, but in the end the sky was a radiant blue from start to finish, making tyre choice much simpler than initially feared. Even so, the 2005 Tour of Corsica was no easy matter!
The island's twisty and notoriously tricky mountain roads pardon no mistakes, but Sebastien Loeb didn't put a foot wrong . He kicked of the rally by beating the outright record for SS1 set by his team-mate Francois Duval in 2004 before going on to claim the best time on the next eleven tests!
The grand slam score of twelve fastest times from twelve gave the Frenchman victory at last on his home round and also saw him collect his 19th WRC victory, all with Michelin: I am obviously delighted to have won in Corsica for the first time. And setting the fastest time on every stage was the icing on the cake. Yet again, my car/tyre package was impeccable."
With Loeb clear in front and with Francois Duval following initially in 2nd spot, and then in 4th spot after being slowed by a brake problem on Saturday morning, the Citroen -Michelin team seemed to be on target to sew up its third consecutive Manufacturers' title. Unfortunately, however, Francois Duval went off first thing Sunday morning and the 10 points pocketed by Loeb were not sufficient to enable the French carmaker to clinch the series. It will now be hoping that it can succeed next weekend when the championship moves on to Catalonia...
Driving the same car that won the 2004 Tour of Corsica in the hands of Markko Martin, Ford- Michelin's Toni Gardemeister put in a first class run to celebrate the 100th WRC outing of the Ford Focus by taking the silver medal in Ajaccio. To finish 2nd behind the driver who was just uncatchable this weekend is a top result for me, perhaps my best ever on asphalt, even though I finished 2nd on this year'sMonte Carlo Rally too. The Focus is fantastic on this type of surface and my tyre choices were all spot on this weekend. I can't wait for Catalonia next week," he commented after the finish.