It's done: for the third time in three years since it began competing full-time in the WRC, Citroen has won the FIA Manufacturers' world title. This success follows last Wednesday's announcement that the French firm will return to the World ...
It's done: for the third time in three years since it began competing full-time in the WRC, Citroen has won the FIA Manufacturers' world title. This success follows last Wednesday's announcement that the French firm will return to the World Championship in 2007 and polishes off a weekend that the Versailles-Satory team is unlikely to forget for a long, long time to come.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Francois Duval/Sven Smeets scored a second one-two finish after their similar result in last August's Deutschland Rally to add a fitting touch of panache to the occasion.
By taking his personal record to 20 WRC wins, Sebastien, who claimed his and Daniel's second Drivers' crown in Japan, joins Didier Auriol as the fifth most successful driver in WRC history. He also extends his own record to ten wins in a single season and to twelve consecutive podium finishes. Concerning the number of different rallies won (13), Seb and Daniel join another top name from the past, Carlos Sainz, who spent all this weekend with the Citroen team.
Sebastien and Daniel were delighted and visibly moved by the heroes' welcome they were given by the team and its fans at the end of the rally. "I always wanted to win here one day," admits Seb. "It's great to have succeeded. But more important still for me is the fact that Citroen not only finished 1st and 2nd thanks to Francois, but also came close to monopolising the podium with the privately-run Xsara of Xevi Pons! At the same time, in addition to wrapping up the Manufacturers' title today, Citroen has also sewn up the JWRC thanks to Dani Sordo and his C2 Super 1600. It's been a dream weekend, the end result of the passion and the work put in by everyone in the team. This tenth win is a symbol of our perfect season and I would like to dedicate it to the them..."
"One of the objectives this year was to hold on to the Manufacturers' title," says Claude Satinet, the Managing Director of Automobiles Citroen. "For us, the Manufacturers' title complements the Drivers' crown because it calls for the performance and reliability of two cars, and two crews. It places the spotlight even more clearly on the ability of a make and on the skill and motivation of its technical staff."
Now that Citroen has achieved its goal, Guy Frequelin can take time to savour and re-live the past season... "The year got off to a difficult start. After Sweden and Mexico, Claude Satinet and I said something along the lines of 'every year is different'. I believe it's a fitting tribute to the team that not only was this season different to the others but it also turned out to be even better. Once again, I want to say how proud I am of them and I want to thank all those who brought their special talent to the table; Sebastien, Francois, Daniel, Stephane and then Sven all contributed in their own way to Citroen's third title. Nor do I want to forget of course Carlos and Marc who helped us out in the difficult moments I was referring to. And I must thank Michelin too. Their tyres brought out the very best in the Xsara WRC. Last but not least, I am very pleased with the results obtained by those privateers who placed their confidence in us. Xevi Pons and his Xsara finished just off the podium today, while Dani Sordo is the 2005 Junior World Champion with his C2 Super 1600. This is all so motivating as we prepare to wrap up the season in Australia and prepare our comeback..."