Hopes of a CitroÃ«n on the podium vanish! Julien Pressac and Gilles de Turckheim seemed to be on target for their first podium finish in the JWRC when a small error in the penultimate stage cost them dearly, dropping the CitroÃ«n C2 Super 1600...
Hopes of a Citroën on the podium vanish!
Julien Pressac and Gilles de Turckheim seemed to be on target for their first podium finish in the JWRC when a small error in the penultimate stage cost them dearly, dropping the Citroën C2 Super 1600 crew from 3rd to 7t h place in the final junior standings.
Yesterday evening's apprehension regarding the special character of the Sardinian event's final leg which featured six stages without service proved entirely founded. It effectively produced a high number of incidents and a fair share of those concerned Citroën runners, the hardest hit being Julien Pressac. "I braked off line and instantly paid the price," he relates. "All four wheels locked and we hit a rock in a ditch beside the road. It was very slow left-hander; 20kph at most. Unfortunately, there were no spectators around and we lost more than six minutes. That was the end of our hopes of a top finish. It's so frustrating!" That's a perfectly understandable reaction given that a podium result had been the French pair's principal objective since Saturday evening. However, in the space of just a few minutes, their chances of a top-three finish were to vanish into thin air. It was just one of those days.
Brice Tirabassi and Jacques-Julien Renucci weren't spared either today and they were in trouble from the morning's very first stage. "About 3km in, I glazed the brakes," explains Brice. "It wasn't a problem we could cure ourselves so it ended up handicapping us throughout the day. The end of the rally couldn't come soon enough."
The 2003 Junior World Champion eventually concluded the weekend down in 9t h spot. By finishing 5t h with their PRT-prepared Citroën C2 Super 1600, Germany's Aaron Burkart and Tanja Geilhausen ended up pocketing four further points in exchange for a well-paced performance which ended up paying. However, 12t h place for Czechs Martin Prokop and Jan Tománek and their Jipocar Racing Citroën C2 Super 1600 failed to do justice to their excellent showing during the early part of the rally.
Citroën Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton made no attempt to conceal his disappointment following the toll the Italian round took on Citroën's crews. "The performances didn't live up to the expectations we had for what is a competitive and reliable car. We now need to put the weekend behind us and concentrate on the final part of the championship. Given how the event fanned out and the numerous upsets it caused, I'm finally not displeased that Kris Meeke didn't nominate Sardinia in his programme. He still has a good chance of doing well in the championship and it will be up to him to profit from the four rallies he still has to come to show that the Citroën C2 Super 1600 has the potential to add a further world title to its record at the end of the year."