Leg 2: a day of potential pitfalls! The profiles of today's stages meant that Leg 2 of the 50th Tour de Corse was always going to be a severe test of both the drivers and their machines. And the day effectively lived up to its reputation with ...
Leg 2: a day of potential pitfalls!
The profiles of today's stages meant that Leg 2 of the 50th Tour de Corse was always going to be a severe test of both the drivers and their machines. And the day effectively lived up to its reputation with a whole host of potential hazards and pitfalls causing havoc at the sharp end of the leaderboard. The many incidents that marked the day including accidents, punctures and mechanical problems contributed significantly to a thinning out of the ranks amongst the JWRC runners.
In spite of the day's inherent challenge, the three Citroen crews figure inside the JWRC's overnight top-five this evening, with Brice Tirabassi/Jacques Julien t hRenucci, Julien Pressac/Gilles de Turckheim and Kris Meeke/Glenn Patterson in 2n d , 4 and 5t h places respectively. "Our drivers weren't spared problems however," says Citroen Sports Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton. "We were right to be cautious yesterday evening with a programme like today's on the menu! Kris and Glenn were slowed by a mechanical problem and that is obviously extremely disappointing for them both. Until that moment, they had enjoyed a trouble free run and had been driving at an ideal pace. I am also disappointed for our other two crews, as well as for the P.H. Sport team which is responsible for running Citroen Sport's JWRC campaign on events."
The morning's pass through today's 60km loop of stages which comprised 'Vico-Plage du Liamone' and 'Ucciani-Bastelica' saw Kris Meeke keep up a strong pace despite suffering from gastro enteritis since the previous evening. The Ulsterman went into the second, identical loop with a clear lead in the JWRC standings and feeling totally confident. His second attempt at 'Vico' should have been a mere formality but he unfortunately failed to reach the finish located by the splendid Liamone beach when this engine stopped some ten kilometres short of the end of the test. "For the moment, we are 5 h and we will try to re-start tomorrow under the SuperRally ruling. We are hugely disappointed and, despite my stomach upset this morning, Glenn and I had kept up a good pace. It's such a shame," said Meeke.
Brice Tirabassi dropped close to two minutes during the morning when he first of all picked up a puncture on the opening stage before spinning early into the following test. The time lost saw him lose ground to Meeke, and the Frenchman consequently preferred caution to outright attack for the remainder of the second leg.
Julien Pressac's day kicked off with a notional time awarded by the organisers following the accident of Luca Betti which caused SS5 to be neutralised. After that, a puncture cost him three minutes. However, the afternoon's group of stages enabled him to enjoy a trouble free run and, if he succeeds in maintaining the same sort of pace tomorrow (Sunday), then a podium finish could well be on the cards...
Total, BFGoodrich, OMP and OZ are the partners of Citroen's programmes in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.