Victory crowns Citroen's 'dream team' reunion Following their win in Kemer twelve months ago, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were again successful in Turkey this weekend to notch up their fourth WRC success in a row, a rare feat that has only...
Victory crowns Citroen's 'dream team' reunion
Following their win in Kemer twelve months ago, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were again successful in Turkey this weekend to notch up their fourth WRC success in a row, a rare feat that has only been achieved by four other drivers in the history of the championship. The weekend's result is also the pair's fifteenth win from 47 starts with the Xsara WRC and maintains Citroen's unbeaten record on Turkish soil.
Winners of the first Rally of Turkey to qualify for the WRC in 2003, Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti finished in 4th place, the same position as last year. This remarkable accomplishment from the Spanish veteran after seven months away from the sport won the admiration of everybody and delighted the Citroen team, including Guy Frequelin of course: "I couldn't have wished for better. We have obtained exactly the result we wanted. Seb, Carlos, Daniel and Marc all made full use of the potential of their cars which proved impeccably reliable thanks to the outstanding work put in by the team. Carlos' come-back was complicated by the conditions and the weather but he didn't put a foot wrong. Amazing, worthy of the true champion we know him to be..."
This year, the organisers chose to run a short third leg with a single loop of two stages totalling just 50 km of against-the-clock action. The sun was already beating down hard when the Xsaras of Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb pulled out of Kemer at a 6-minute interval for 'Chimera 2' and 'Olympos'. Carlos was on hard tyres, while Sebastien, aware that the difference was unlikely to be that great between the two options, went for a slightly softer compound on the grounds that there could well be mud in the stages. And so there was...
"The muddy downhill section at the end of 'Chimera' was just the sort of place you don't like when you're in the lead," he explained. "There's much more of a chance of you making a mistake. I started 'Olympos' at a good pace but then lifted when I saw the split times. Four wins in a row... I'm clearly on a positive run at the moment, but I want to stress the importance of the team's contribution to this series of wins. They are more motivated than ever and continue not to make any mistakes. It was also a big pleasure to join forces with Carlos again. We picked up our association as though we had parted company the previous day. The silver fern the Maoris gave me in New Zealand? It's still in the car. A bit faded, but it's still there and it will stay there for the next rounds," beamed the Frenchman.
Carlos Sainz also had a huge smile on his face as he was applauded at the finish: "I'm obviously delighted to be at the finish. It wasn't as straightforward as that to pull off my mission. I had to find the right pace to finish high up and score as many points as possible, while at the same time not making any mistakes despite the awful weather conditions. But we've done it! I am very happy for Seb after his impressive win. It's been a superb weekend for the whole team. Working with everyone again has been a big occasion and lived up every bit to my experience with Citroen as a whole..."