The Xsara WRC makes the podium CitroÃ«n achieved a brilliant performance on its first Safari Rally. The "Reds" are the only team to reach rejoining the finish with all its cars. Thomas RÃ¥dstrÃ¶m - Denis Giraudet climb on the podium and thanks...
The Xsara WRC makes the podium
Citroën achieved a brilliant performance on its first Safari Rally. The "Reds" are the only team to reach rejoining the finish with all its cars. Thomas Rådström - Denis Giraudet climb on the podium and thanks to the three fastest times set by Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, the Xsara demonstrated a great competitiveness. "It’s a real success, said Guy Fréquelin. We had some problems the first day and we’ve worked hard to solve them. The second day was the occasion to show the car’s potential, and in the third leg we confirmed this excellent result."
Team mates Thomas Rådström - Denis Giraudet and Sébastien Loeb - Daniel Elena started third and fourth respectively this morning from Nairobi, for the final leg composed of the three same stages as Friday. Actually, last night, after the official results publication, the Citroën drivers benefited from a penalty inflicted on Markko Martin - Ford- for being late at the time control.
Both crews were given clear team orders by Guy Fréquelin. "They need to hold their positions. Thomas has to keep his third place and Sébastien should adapt his pace on Markko Martin’s to stay in front."
Except from the leader Colin McRae, all competitors had to drive through a very thick cloud of dust, as no wind blew during the first stage (Ntulele - 106 km). After the next service, Thomas Rådström was four minutes late at the time control (40 s penalty) when the technical team changed the left rear wishbone and pivot as a precaution. Thomas finished on the podium on his first "Safari": "I am very happy. It’s a very good result for me but also for the whole team."
On Friday, most competitors encountered problems in the very tough stage of "Il Damat" (SS11), where Sébastien had been slowed down by less efficient rear shock absorbers. The same scenario happened again in the third leg, and Sébastien dropped to fifth place, 1 mn 18 s behind Markko Martin. In SS12, and with Guy Fréquelin’s approval, Sébastien gave a full attack and recorded his third stage win equalling the win rate of Colin McRae. He finished fifth. "On a personal side, I am very pleased. I think we did well. This was possible thanks to the team who has done a great job to solve our problems very quickly. We succeed in our first Safari, and this is very encouraging."
Total, Michelin, Magneti-Marelli, OZ, AIS and Citroën Financement are Citroën's partners in the World Rally Championship.
Next event for Citroën in the World Rally Championship : Neste Rally Finland (8 – 11 August 2002).