WRC

Tour de Corse: Citroen preview

Citroen, Loeb and Sordo on tour in Corsica Just days after its emphatic one-two finish on the Rally Catalunya, the Citroen Total squad is now in Corsica for the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, round 13 of the 2008 World Rally Championship.

Citroen, Loeb and Sordo on tour in Corsica

Just days after its emphatic one-two finish on the Rally Catalunya, the Citroen Total squad is now in Corsica for the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse, round 13 of the 2008 World Rally Championship. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti will be looking to profit from their visit to the island to defend their and the team's unbeaten run of three consecutive wins in Ajaccio, while the French outfit's home round gives it a first class chance to build on its recent winning series and reinforce its lead at the top of both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' championship points tables.

Citroen C4 WRCs have also been entered by Urmo Aava/Kuldar Sikk and Conrad Rautenbach/David Senior. Both of these cars are prepared and run by PH Sport with the support of technicians from Citroen Sport Technologies.

The Tour de Corse is one of the WRC calendar's classic fixtures. Although no longer known as the Rally of the 10,000 bends, it continues to stand out as a one of the season's more complex challenges. This year's 1,094.36km route features several changes to the menu of eight special stages which will be contested twice each for a total competitive distance of 359.02km.

Technically, the differences between the Rally Catalunya and the Tour de Corse are less clear-cut than before, although the Mediterranean island's roads tend to be narrower and more abrasive, with less of a temptation to indulge in corner-cutting. The portions of ageing, bumpy tar have tended to be replaced over the years, yet the demands made of the vertical ability of the cars' suspensions continue to stand out as the biggest single difference between the two events. The fact that the two rallies are run back to back this time round called for a thorough inspection by Citroen Sport of the two C4 WRCs which dominated last weekend's proceedings in Spain.

"There isn't actually that big a difference in the set-up of our C4 WRC for these two asphalt rallies," observes Sebastien Loeb who enjoys a cushion of 12 points at the top of the provisional Drivers' standings. "Along with the team, we will make a few small adjustments to fine-tune our car to the slightly twistier nature of the Corsican roads which tend to feature more surface changes than last weekend's stages. But Corsica isn't a slow rally and we will get up to the same sort of speeds as we did in Spain."

"The weather is a factor that needs to be taken onboard every year in Corsica," continues the three-time Tour de Corse winner. "The lie of the land, with high mountains so close to the coast, means that violent, isolated storms are always a possibility. Once again, tyres promise to play a big role and we will perhaps have to come to a few compromises on that front. Our position in both championships is positive for the moment, but it will take a favourable scenario for us to sew up one or both titles this weekend. We will therefore try to put all that to the back of our minds and I intend to focus above all on strengthening our positions."

Seb and Daniel will be able to count on the support of Dani Sordo and Marc Marti who are on a run of three consecutive second place finishes, a sequence which began in Finland and which saw them collect another silver medal on home soil where they gave a further demonstration of their speed on sealed surfaces. The Spaniards are particularly fired up going into the French round: "Corsica calls for less of a circuit racing style, and I don't have a problem with that," says Dani. "With the mountain on one side and steep drop-offs to the other, it isn't possible to cut corners, but that doesn't prevent us from getting up to very high speeds at times. I enjoy the Tour de Corse, even though it hasn't been all that happy an event for me to date. Hopefully, I will succeed in putting that situation right this time round."

"I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the wheel of my C4 WRC over the three days in Spain," continues the young Spaniard. "It was amazingly quick and I can't wait for the competitive action to begin in Corsica. As usual, we expect fierce competition, but I will give it my very best shot to achieve my objective which is another podium finish to secure more valuable championship points for Citroen."

-credit: citroen

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , David Senior , Daniel Elena , Marc Marti , Conrad Rautenbach , Urmo Aava , Kuldar Sikk
Teams Citroën World Rally Team