Three Xsaras in the Top 5 The CitroÃ«n team has achieved a fantastic performance on a gruelling edition of the Cyprus Rally with SÃ©bastien Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz finishing third, fourth, and fifth respectively. The "Chevrons" ...
Three Xsaras in the Top 5
The Citroën team has achieved a fantastic performance on a gruelling edition of the Cyprus Rally with Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz finishing third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
The "Chevrons" Marque is the only team to reach the finish with all its cars, and scored valuable points on a rally they were discovering for the very first time.
Yesterday's classification could have predicted a cautious end of rally for its "survivors". As it turned out the suspense was maintained all the way to the finish following incidents affecting Sébastien Loeb and Harri Rovanperä, respectively third and second overall.
Young French Seb' encountered electronics problems which cost him about twenty seconds (stage 15). In the second loop, it was Harri Rovanperä's turn to experience problems. His lead was reduced considerably but he kept a 2,8 s margin on Seb' who was extremely happy though : "My target was to finish the rally, be in the points and if possible equalling my team-mates' performances. These three goals are achieved, but for the team I would have liked to be 3 seconds faster after the perfect job they've done on the car. We'll do even better next time !"
Colin McRae explained he was "happy to be at the finish of a rally which seemed to be never ending. The team has claimed an excellent result proving the Xsara is strong and reliable. We still have some work to do to match the best competitors' pace but I'm confident for the Championship."
Carlos Sainz was satisfied with his fifth place, bringing him only one point behind the Championship's leader. "We have shown how reliable the Citroën is. Given this, we will work even harder to improve the performance. We are paying for our lack of testing on this very tricky terrain. I am confident because we have found interesting settings on the last day. I'm also very happy with my position in the Championship especially because four of the seven rounds still to be competed will take place on asphalt. It should a bit easier for us then."
"I'm delighted with this finish in close formation", concluded team boss Guy Fréquelin. "The target was to have two cars lying in the Top five with one on the podium. And we did even better. We announced at the start of the year we were aiming to be first or second in either the Manufacturers' or Drivers' Championship. We're halfway through the season now and we're ahead of what we hoped for. This is encouraging us to work even harder."