Simon Jean-Joseph and the Citroen C2 head east After the 1000 Miglia and the recent Rally Turkey, Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack BoyÃ¨re travel east again for the Croatia Delta Rally, the third round of the 2007 European Rally Championship...
Simon Jean-Joseph and the Citroen C2 head east
After the 1000 Miglia and the recent Rally Turkey, Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère travel east again for the Croatia Delta Rally, the third round of the 2007 European Rally Championship (ERC). And as was the case for the two earlier events, their Citroen C2 Super 1600 will be prepared and run by PH Sport with staff from Citroen Sport also in attendance during the rally.
The first of this year's ten-round ERC took crews to Brescia, in northern Italy, the second was based on Asian soil near Istanbul, and this weekend's fixture is hosted by Croatia's capital and biggest city, Zagreb.
The all-asphalt event features two legs of nine stages each. Friday's menu essentially comprises a loop of three stages to the west of Zagreb in the Zumberak-Samoborsko- Gorje Nature Park, including the long Budlinjak test which finishes close to the Slovenian border. Either of the two attempts at this 33.17km stage (SS3/6) could well prove decisive, while the following day sees the route strike further north with three more tests in another Nature Park, the Medvednica.
The trip to Croatia marks a first for Simon Jean-Joseph and his co-driver Jack Boyère, as well as for the members of the PH Sport team. "Unlike the two events we have contested to date this year, I don't know anything about this country," says Simon. "I have no idea what the stages are like and that's one of things I love about this sport. Discovering new stages has never been a problem for me; you just need to be a little more focused during recce to make sure you take good notes."
Meanwhile, the Citroen C2 Super 1600's victory on this event in 2005 is a promising omen. "I think we have a chance of making it onto the podium because the gap compared with the four-wheel drive cars on sealed surfaces seems to be narrowing," continues the 2004 European Champion. "That said, the competition promises to be extremely fierce and a top result is by no means a foregone conclusion. Even so, I'm convinced that Citroen's potential on tarmac will enable us to target a good finish, which would be great for our ERC bid. This event is a big, but also very stimulating challenge."
Simon's analysis is shared by Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton: "This visit to Croatia is a first for Citroen Sport and we are also delighted that Simon Jean- Joseph's participation will give us a chance to see where the C2 Super 1600 stands in performance terms. Its times on the 1000 Miglia point to a possible podium finish, while this event is the first in a sequence of asphalt fixtures that could help us move up the championship standings. This trip to eastern Europe is a chance for us to score a good result and it will be up to us to seize that opportunity."
The 2007 Croatia Delta Rally in brief:
* This will be the 34th edition of this event which is a qualifying round of the 2007 European Rally Championship (Round 3). It also counts towards both the Slovenian and Croatian national championships.
* The event is based in Zagreb. The service park, parc ferme, media room and press office are based in the Zagrebacki Velesajam.
* The total length of the 2007 event is 784.20km, including 270.65km divided into 18 stages (7 different).
* Recce is scheduled for Tuesday May 22 (from 08.00 until 19.00) and Wednesday May 23 (from 08.00 until 20.00). Three passes are authorised per stage, with the exception of SS9 (two passes only).
* Shakedown runs from 15.30 until 17.00 on Thursday May 24. I uses a 3.55km asphalt stage between Samobor and Otrusevec, approximately 30km west of the service park.
* The start ceremony stakes place at Zagreb's Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica on Thursday May 24 and begins at 20.30.
* Tyres: There are no quantity restrictions concerning tyres. Crews are authorised to carry two spares if they wish. Mousse run-flat systems are not permitted.
* Just one spare gearbox is permitted for two-wheel drive, normally-aspirated cars. Engines are sealed.
* A Citroen C2 Super 1600 won the 2005 Croatia Rally in the hands of Juraj Sebalj/Toni Klinc.
* Citroen C2-R2s have been entered by Slovenians Borut Bratina/Andrej Mrak and Uros Petric/Darko Lah, as well as by Hungary's Marin Petric/Aleksandra Pozar, Tihomir Simon/Tomislav Pazman.