With a one-two in Argentina, CitroÃ«n claimed one of the results which really count in the life of a team. After an extremely difficult event, Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti finished in first place, with SÃ©bastien Loeb/Daniel Elena in second; the rally...
With a one-two in Argentina, Citroën claimed one of the results which really count in the life of a team. After an extremely difficult event, Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti finished in first place, with Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena in second; the rally will definitely be one to remember - for a number of reasons.
Rallying history will state that the Spanish driver claimed his 26th career victory with the Xsara. Already holding the record for the number of World Rally event starts (187) and for the most podium finishes (91), Carlos has now taken the lead in terms of the number of victories, which he shared until now with Colin McRae.
That this triumph should take place in a Spanish-speaking country, in front of huge crowds of spectators, entirely won over to his cause, in a rally he only just failed to win last year, added an emotional element to the event. Carlos found it difficult to hide his emotion : "This victory has a special flavour. It is undeniably one of the most important wins of my career. I am proud to have claimed, at the age of forty-two, a victory for which it was necessary to fight relentlessly. A win that I really had to 'go and get'. It is a true victory, and I am grateful to the whole Citroën team for allowing me to claim it by giving me a truly perfect Xsara !"
And as Carlos will continue to be the man who never gives up, he was quick to add, as a conclusion : "It will not be the last !"
Second, Sébastien Loeb can be satisfied with his result. Delayed on the first day due to his position on the road, and on the second day thanks to his lack of in-depth knowledge of the stages in the Calamuchita valley, the young Frenchman drove an intelligent race, full of good judgement. While Carlos was pushing Marcus Gronholm relentlessly, Seb became aware that he was not catching up with the two men, involved in their personal battle, and he changed plan, thinking only of the excellent result in terms of the championship classification, with none of his closest rivals scoring points. Enjoying, just like Carlos, a competitive and reliable Xsara, an error-free race saw him take second place, which means that he now has a lead of seventeen points over his nearest rival. "Last year, during these last three rallies, Greece, Turkey and Argentina, I retired three times. This year, in the same events, I have managed a win and two second places. As far as my game plan is concerned, I am well ahead…"
"What could possibly be better ?" asked a delighted Guy Fréquelin. "The performance of our cars and drivers, added to the work of the team, has allowed us to claim a one-two on an event in which we are participating for just the second time. A difficult event : you only have to look at the final result and the list of retirements to see how tough it was. Over and beyond the simple figures, which show that at the mid-season point we are in a good position to achieve our aims, to have been able to share this victory with Carlos, a victory he wanted so much, will most probably remain as one of my best race memories ever !"