WRC

Rally Japan: Michelin championship report

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena secure Michelin's 37th title in the World Rally Championship* The 2005 season has proved immensely successful for Michelin in terms of new records and results. After the Formula One and ...

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena secure Michelin's 37th title in the World Rally Championship*

The 2005 season has proved immensely successful for Michelin in terms of new records and results. After the Formula One and MotoGP world crowns ensured last weekend by Fernando Alonso (Renault-Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha- Michelin) respectively, Michelin claimed its 37th world title since the creation of the WRC in 1973 thanks to Sebastien Loeb (Citroen -Michelin) who made sure of his second consecutive Drivers' title in Japan .

With a total score of eight wins from the thirteen rounds contested since last January, the combination of Loeb + Citroen + Michelin has incontestably dominated the 2005 World Rally Championship, triumphing over a broad spectrum of surfaces, from the asphalt of the Monte Carlo Rally to the gravel of New Zealand, the rough tracks of Cyprus, the mud of Turkey, the searing heat of Greece and the frozen ground encountered in Argentina.

The Michelin Z BTO tyre, the development of which began in the summer of 2004 prior to its competition debut in New Zealand last April, has played a decisive role in the way the 2005 World Rally Championship has unfolded. For not only did this new product help Sebastien Loeb to six consecutive loose surface wins between April and July to establish a new outright record, but it also permitted Toni Gardemeister (Ford-Michelin, 3 podiums), Francois Duval (Citroen -Michelin, 2 podiums) and even Carlos Sainz (Citroen -Michelin, 3rd in Greece) to clinch some top results and score valuable points for their respective teams.

Following in the footsteps of Miki Biasion (Lancia-Michelin, 1988 and 89), Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi-Michelin, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 99), France'sSebastien Loeb (Citr oen -Michelin) is only the third driver in WRC history to take the Drivers' crowns in successive years. Up to Rally Japan, the 2004 champ has taken his Michelin-shod Citroen Xsara WRC to eight victories from the thirteen rounds contested since the current season kicked off in Monte Carlo last January.

The asphalt stages of the Monte Carlo Rally saw Sebastien Loeb and his Monaco-born co- driver Daniel Elena secure their third consecutive success on the legendary event, but two weeks later the Citroen -Michelin pair was sidelined in Sweden by mechanical problems two stages from home. Shortly afterwards, after being delayed by early mechanical trouble in Mexico, Loeb and Elena staged one of the most spectacular come-backs of the year to clinch 4th place at the flag.

Sebastien Loeb 's 2005 season really took off in New Zealand where, thanks to the brand new Michelin Z BTO (BTO for 'Braking & Traction Optimisation'), he picked up his first ever

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Series WRC
Teams Citroën World Rally Team