* 9th position for Didier Auriol in Monte Carlo * Two Manufacturer Championship points for Skoda Motorsport Team * Skoda Octavia WRC handling faultless On the final day of the Rallye Monte Carlo, the first round of the World Rally Championship...
* 9th position for Didier Auriol in Monte Carlo
* Two Manufacturer Championship points for Skoda Motorsport Team
* Skoda Octavia WRC handling faultless
On the final day of the Rallye Monte Carlo, the first round of the World Rally Championship 2003, the drivers had to cope with treacherous road conditions with wet sections and patches of snow. Unlike the second day of the rally, this caused no retirements in the WRC and there were few changes on the leader board. One of them was the move from tenth to ninth position by Didier Auriol of the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team.
Didier Auriol, world rally champion in 1994 and three times winner of the Rallye Monte Carlo, had a very good day again in the Skoda Octavia WRC. After a warm-up on stage 11, which he finished 11th due to an unfortunate tyre choice, he took fifth place on special stage 12 leaving Carlos Sainz, Sebastien Loeb, Colin McRae, and Marcus Gronholm behind him. He repeated his act on stage 13 finishing seventh this time before Gronholm and Loeb. On stage 14 the Octavia passed the finish line seventh again. Ninth position in the overall ranking and two points in the Manufacturer Championship was Didiers' reward for the great efforts of him and the Skoda Motorsport Team.
Didier was very happy with the results, saying: "We have gone to the limit and could do no more. The road conditions were tricky again sometimes, but the handling of the Octavia caused no surprises. The set-up, which we worked out during our tests in December of last year, was the right one and we did not need to change anything during the entire rally. I am very happy for the team that we achieved this result and collected our first points during the first rally this year."
Team principal Pavel Janeba was quite relieved when the Skoda Octavia WRC passed the finish line saying with a smile: "This rally was really exciting for us. I am satisfied with the result; Didier did a very professional job. I am convinced that we will see even better results of him in the future when he has an even better feel for the car. It was a pity that we lost some time on stage 11 but Didier was able to catch up again later on the day."
He was also very positive about the performance of the Skoda Motorsport Team and the Octavia, saying: "The team was in full control. We had only two small problems today. These slowed Didier down slightly, and we changed the differential during the morning service just as a precautionary matter. The current performance of the Octavia gives us great confidence for the coming rallies."
The second rally of 2003 is only two weeks away; the Sweden Rally will take place around Hagfors on February 7 -- 9.