WRC

Rally Sanremo Michelin final report

PANIZZI AND DELECOUR (PEUGEOT-MICHELIN) DO IT AGAIN! Just three weeks after Gilles Panizzi and François Delecour's assertive one-two in Corsica, the Peugeot-Michelin pair has produced a repeat, practically start-to-finish success today in Italy.

PANIZZI AND DELECOUR (PEUGEOT-MICHELIN) DO IT AGAIN!

Just three weeks after Gilles Panizzi and François Delecour's assertive one-two in Corsica, the Peugeot-Michelin pair has produced a repeat, practically start-to-finish success today in Italy. Although the final result comes as no real surprise given their never-threatened command of the event, it does have a significant effect on the situation at the top of both the Manufacturers' and Drivers' World Championship points tables.

To begin with, Panizzi's win - Peugeot's fifth of the season - has given the French team the overall lead in the Manufacturers' standings. And with Ford-Michelin just two points behind with two rounds remaining, the end of the year promises to be an absolute cracker.

Meanwhile, fourth position overall and three points in Italy for Marcus Gronholm have given the Peugeot-Michelin driver a bit of breathing space ahead of Richard Burns (Subaru) and Ford-Michelin's Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz in the Drivers' standings. Gronholm, who was just 1.7 seconds adrift of third-placed Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi-Michelin) at the start of the last leg, failed in his last-day bid to snatch a place on the podium that might - who can say? - have tempted the French squad to apply team orders and hand him victory. But that wasn't to be, which means that the top four runners in the Drivers' title chase are today still only split by six points with only Australia and Great Britain to come!

Makinen's third place is a welcome return to the podium for the outgoing champion who was fastest on three of the event's sixteen stages. The Finn does still have a mathematical chance of taking the crown for a record fifth time, although he recognises that the chances of that happening are extremely slim. He has nonetheless promised that he will do his utmost to win the last two remaining rounds.

There was not enough time on the final day for Carlos Sainz to make a real bid to improve on his 5th place at the Sanremo finish. The Ford-Michelin driver spent much of the event trying to fine-tune the handling of his Focus WRC in an attempt to gain that little bit of extra speed that would have put him in the fight for 'first of the non-Peugeots'.

Meanwhile, his Ford-Michelin teammate Colin McRae has to be admired for his performance this weekend. Just three weeks after his scary crash in Corsica and less than two weeks after an operation to re-set a fractured cheekbone, he was back in the seat of a rally car this weekend determined to keep alive his world title chances. The reward for his bravery was sixth overall and a point that keeps him in the thick of the battle for the crown, equal with Sainz and just one point behind Subaru's Richard Burns who retired in Italy following an accident-induced engine problem.

In fact there were very few retirement amongst the front-runners in Italy. Apart from Burns, the other two key disappearances were those of local drivers Piero Liatti (Ford-Michelin) and the 2000 Italian Rally Champion Piero Longhi (Toyota-Michelin). The former had been practically level pegging with Carlos Sainz - and had just set a fastest stage time - when his engine failed on a road section on Saturday, while Longhi's brief presence in the rally was marked by two top-three stage times and a top-four position before he crashed out on the afternoon of the opening day.

.MICHELIN'S RALLY

ASPHALT GRAND SLAM FOR BIBENDUM IN 2000

GILLES PANIZZI (1st, PEUGEOT-MICHELIN). "The excellent pre-event testing we did with Michelin for this event allowed us to find a good set-up for the car and we practically didn't touch the suspension/tyre package for the whole rally. Only once, on grouped stages 11/12 did I change from the '2' compound Michelin N FP to the '4' compound, but it proved too hard. Both in Corsica and here in Italy, the Michelin N FP '2' helped give me the confidence I needed to attack hard, and that confidence was especially important in the slippery conditions on SS1/2 where, thanks also to the spot-on work of my gravel-note crew, I first took the lead."

UNBEATEN. The technologically sophisticated Michelin N 'FP' achieved its third clear asphalt success of the season following its earlier wins in Catalonia and Corsica. Michelin also won the mostly dry Monte Carlo Rally in January making it another asphalt grand slam in 2000.

51 FASTEST TIMES. Michelin's partners were fastest on fourteen of the rally's sixteen stages this weekend in Italy. This takes its score on asphalt for the season to 51 fastest times from the 62 stages actually covered in Monte Carlo, Catalonia, Corsica and Italy (including some equal fastest times with non-Michelin runners).

ESSENTIALLY DRY. While it was obviously vital to have a high performance tyre to win here in Italy, tyres did not prove a decisive factor in the final result. This The latest evolution of the Michelin N 'FP' was used throughout the rally by all of Michelin's WRC partners, either in the '2' compound/construction or more rarely (and notably for the grouped stages SS11/12) in the '4' compound/construction. Conditions were essentially dry from start to finish (ground temperatures ranging from 12C to 26C). There were some damp patches, as well as dirt and leaves brought onto the road by pre-event rain, on the early stages.

<pre> Final Classification Rally od Sanremo

      Pos No.  Pilote   Voiture Nat Groupe Classe Grpe Clse Pos ES.  Total      Pen.  Temp Total Diff.
      1  10 PANIZZI     Peugeot    F   A 8  1  1 3:52:07.3 --:-- 3:52:07.3 **:**.*      **:**.*
      2   9 DELECOUR    Peugeot    F   A 8  2  2 3:52:24.1 --:-- 3:52:24.1 0:16.8 0:16.8
      3   1 MAKINEN     Mitsubishi FIN A 8  3  3 3:53:00.3 --:-- 3:53:00.3 0:53.0 0:36.2
      4  16 GRONHOLM    Peugeot    FIN A 8  4  4 3:53:09.6 --:-- 3:53:09.6 1:02.3 0:09.3
      5   6 SAINZ       Ford       E   A 8  5  5 3:53:18.6 --:-- 3:53:18.6 1:11.3 0:09.0
      6   5 MCRAE       Ford       GB  A 8  6  6 3:53:47.3 --:-- 3:53:47.3 1:40.0 0:28.7
      7   4 JEAN-JOSEPH Subaru     F   A 8  7  7 3:54:04.0 --:-- 3:54:04.0 1:56.7 0:16.7
      8   2 LOIX        Mitsubishi B   A 8  8  8 3:54:30.3 --:-- 3:54:30.3 2:23.0 0:26.3
      9  19 SOLBERG     Subaru     N   A 8  9  9 3:54:39.0 --:-- 3:54:39.0 2:31.7 0:08.7
      10 43 LOEB        Toyota     F   A 8 10 10 3:55:41.7 --:-- 3:55:41.7 3:34.4 1:02.7
      11 41 TRAVAGLIA   Peugeot    I   A 7 11 15 3:56:18.3 --:-- 3:56:18.3 4:11.0 0:36.6
      12 11 SCHWARZ     Skoda      D   A 8 12 11 3:57:20.4 --:-- 3:57:20.4 5:13.1 1:02.1
      13 28 DALLAVILLA  Subaru     I   A 8 13 12 3:58:50.9 --:-- 3:58:50.9 6:43.6 1:30.5
      14 12 CLIMENT     Skoda      E   A 8 14 13 4:00:51.3 --:-- 4:00:51.3 8:44.0 2:00.4
      15 25 AGHINI      Mitsubishi I   A 8 15 14 4:01:02.3 --:-- 4:01:02.3 8:55.0 0:11.0

World Rally Championship standings after 12 rounds

      Drivers                   MC  S EAK P  E RA GR NZ FIN CH  F  I AUS GB Total
      Marcus Gronholm (FIN)M     0 10  0  6  2  6  0 10 10   0  2  3  -  -  49
      Richard Burns (GB)         0  2 10 10  6 10  0  0  0   3  3  0  -  -  44
      Colin McRae (GB) M         0  4  0  0 10  0 10  6  6   6  0  1  -  -  43
      Carlos Sainz (E) M         6  0  3  4  4  0  6  4  0  10  4  2  -  -  43
      Tommi Makinen (FIN) M     10  6  0  0  3  4  0  0  3   2  0  4  -  -  32
      Gilles Panizzi (F) M       0  -  0  -  1  -  -  -  -   - 10 10  -  -  21
      Frangois Delecour (F) M    0  0  -  2  0  0  0  0  1   4  6  6  -  -  19
      Manfacturers              MC  S EAK P  E RA GR NZ FIN CH  F  I AUS GB Total
      Peugeot-Michelin M         0 11  0  9  3  6  2 10 13   4 16 16  -  -  90
      Ford-Michelin M            6  4  3  4 14  0 16 10  6  16  4  5  -  -  88
      Subaru                     4  5 16 10  6 13  4  0  2   4  5  1  -  -  70
      Mitsubishi-Michelin M     12  6  0  2  3  6  0  0  4   2  0  4  -  -  39
      Seat                       3  0  4  0  0  0  0  0  0   0  1  0  -  -  8
      Skoda-Michelin M           1  -  3  1  0  -  3  -  -   0  -  0  -  -  8
      Hyundai-Michelin M         -  0  -  0  0  1  0  3  1 - 0  0  -  -  -  5

M=Michelin partner

Next round: Rally Australia (9-12/11/2000)

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Gilles Panizzi , Marcus Gronholm , François Delecour , Piero Liatti , Piero Longhi