A Corsican hat-trick for Citroen and Loeb The disappointment felt in the Citroen camp after the French national rugby squad's defeat yesterday evening was amply surpassed today by the resounding victory of the Citroen C4 WRC, Sebastien Loeb and...
A Corsican hat-trick for Citroen and Loeb
The disappointment felt in the Citroen camp after the French national rugby squad's defeat yesterday evening was amply surpassed today by the resounding victory of the Citroen C4 WRC, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena on the 2007 Tour de Corse. Their success on home soil was compounded by third place for their Spanish team-mates Dani Sordo and Marc Marti.
With a total stage length of 112km, the long and challenging final leg of the 2007 championship's thirteenth round featured two visits to 'Coti' (SS13/15) and 'Agosta' (SS14/16), two classic, exacting and extremely varied tests famed for the narrow climb and countless uphill hairpins of the former and the latter's awesome downhill section to the finish.
Running on hard compound BFGoodrich dry weather tyres, Citroen C4 WRC crew Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena set off for the first loop with an overnight advantage of 27.5 that enabled them to control from in front. "It wasn't down to us take risks this morning," explained Seb. "Our role was to keep an eye on the times of our rival and adjust our pace accordingly. Even so, I tried to drive quickly in order to keep up my concentration. It's not the sort of situation I enjoy but it means you are leading, so I am always happy to live with it."
The challenge facing Dani Sordo and Marc Marti was different and involved chasing and keeping the pressure on Marcus Gronholm. "For that reason," related the Spanish driver, "we opted for a slightly more 'offensive' tyre choice than Seb. Everything was going well on SS13 and our early split times looked promising but then I span." Dani continued to push on the following test and was rewarded this time by his second fastest time of the weekend.
The last loop of Leg 3 saw Dani claim two more stage wins, although they ended up having little incidence on the final order as Sebastien went on to claim his third Tour de Corse win and his 35th world class success. "I am particularly fond of this event and I am delighted to have won here again," he beamed at the finish. "It wasn't a particularly restful weekend and we didn't get off to the best of starts. However, along with the technical team, we responded well after making some small adjustments to the set-up of our C4. I felt much happier with my car from Friday afternoon on and that enabled us to take the lead, pull clear and ultimately win. We leave Corsica with two more points than our rival in the Drivers' championship and the last three rounds promise to be very exciting indeed."
"I'm disappointed not to have succeeded in finishing second," admitted Dani. "I didn't feel comfortable with my car yesterday and I fell too far back to stand any real chance of ensuring another one-two finish for Citroen after our result in Spain last weekend. I still had tremendous fun, even though this was only my second visit to Corsica in a WRC car."
"With both our crews on the podium and a score of 12 fastest times from a possible 15, everyone at Citroen Sport did the same top job on asphalt that they have put in all year," stressed Guy Frequelin after the finish. "Seb and Daniel constructed their victory brilliantly, taking the time to perfect the handling of their car before going on to claim their seventh win of the season. They have moved closer to the leader in the Drivers' championship and it's a just a shame that Dani and Marc didn't succeed in splitting Seb and Marcus in the final results. Dani perhaps lacked a little experience to adapt quickly enough to the terrain."