Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) continued his domination and now leads by 1min 30.5sec. He was fastest on all four stages and has now won all eight tests to date. Team-mate Francois Duval had major brake problems on the opening two stages, losing...
Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) continued his domination and now leads by 1min 30.5sec. He was fastest on all four stages and has now won all eight tests to date. Team-mate Francois Duval had major brake problems on the opening two stages, losing almost 80 seconds and dropping to fifth. However, the Belgian was second fastest on both afternoon stages to climb back to fourth. He is just 24.6sec behind third-placed Petter Solberg (Subaru), who has had a trouble free leg. Stephane Sarrazin (Subaru) lies fifth, the Frenchman also problem free. Differential troubles continued to hinder team-mates Gigi Galli and Harri Rovanpera (Mitsubishi), the Italian being the team's top runner in ninth. Armin Schwarz (Skoda) had massive handling problems on the opening stage, which badly wore his front tyres and he retired for safety reasons before the start of the second test. Another major retirement was Gilles Panizzi (Mitsubishi) who stopped in the final stage with engine problems.
Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Citroen Xsara WRC profited from the second leg of the 2005 Tour of Corsica to add a further four fastest stage times to their record, taking their total for the weekend to eight from eight. The two-times World Champions* profited from an entirely trouble-free run today to pull even further clear at the top of the provisional leaderboard.
Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: "Eight fastest times from eight. everything's fine. Everybody is now asking whether I can make it a grand slam. That's not my objective, but if I can win more stages driving at this pace, which is sufficiently quick to ensure the Xsara is easy to drive and for me to remain fully concentrated, then that will be a bonus. However, my main aim is to win to try to score maximum points for Citroen."
Francois Duval/Sven Smeets: "I would like to finish on the podium. But I think catching Petter will be difficult. Helping Citroen's bid to win the Manufacturers' title continues to be the priority. I will therefore stay at the pace I adopted for today's second loop, and we will see."
After today's second Leg of the Tour de Corse, Petter Solberg holds third place overall, with one full day of competition remaining. All three of the Subaru World Rally Team's cars ran faultlessly and Solberg finished in the top three in three of the day's four stages.
Petter Solberg/Phil Mills: "I must say, I'm happy with what we've done today. It's been better than I expected actually. The car and the tyres are working very well in these conditions and I think the development work that we've done recently is a massive step forward. We haven't had any problems to report, apart from the near miss with a pig on the first stage, and I hope we can have another trouble free run tomorrow."
Stephan Sarrazin/Denis Giraudet: "Yes, it was good, not fantastic, but we struggled a bit with too much understeer for my liking. But to be fifth overall is not bad and there are still another 95 kilometres to go tomorrow. I liked the roads today, they were very exciting, and tomorrow I hope to be able to push a bit harder. Everything can happen over the remaining four stages, I will push to the maximum."
Chris Atkinson/Glen MacNeall: "After our departure from the rally yesterday, today has almost been a test, and not a bad one at all. I'm happy with the pace that we showed all day, there was steady improvement in our times and it's encouraging to see the progress on the time sheets. We've gathered a lot of feedback from the car, especially on how it reacts in different situations. There are so many surface changes on this event that we've been finding our way a bit. We made a few little mistakes, but we're learning more all the time and it's definitely going to help us when we come back here again."
BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Toni Gardemeister and Jakke Honkanen powered their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car into second place during today's middle leg of the Rallye de France Tour de Corse. Team-mates Roman Kresta and Jan Tomanek ensured the BP-Ford squad held two strong points-scoring positions with one day of this 14th round of the FIA World Rally Championship remaining by climbing into sixth in their similar car.
Toni Gardemeister/Jakke Honkanen: "I chose slightly harder tyres this afternoon and that was the right selection, even though I don't have such a good feeling with them. Petter will really want second place tomorrow and Francois Duval will be trying hard to make up time he lost today, so I have to concentrate on keeping them back."
Roman Kresta/Jan Tomanek: "It's been a better day than yesterday. I feel more confident, I made good tyre choices and the car feels perfect. I've made no changes to the set-up. I didn't like these stages on the recce but at rally speed I really enjoyed them. They were very twisty and I had two or three close escapes. The stages were quicker to drive this afternoon but more difficult because of all the dirt dragged onto the road during the first pass. I hope everything will be OK tomorrow, but as long as I don't make any mistakes or have any problems then I think I can keep Alex behind me."
Nicolas Bernardi has driven an excellent second leg of the Rally de France-Tour de Corse, regularly improving his times and entering the overall top 10 tonight. Nicolas, classified 14th at the end of the opening leg, was one of the first cars on the road today - but for once this was not a handicap. The weather remained dry and warm throughout the leg's four stages, giving the Frenchman the opportunity to show what he can do. Nicolas consistently increased his pace, ending the day with a fourth-fastest time on the final stage - the quickest of all the Pirelli runners.
Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen: Retired
Nicolas Bernardi/Jean Marc Fortin: "I made a cautious start as I did not want to throw away this amazing chance to drive a factory car, which I have been waiting for since the start of my career. After changing some aspects of the set-up, and with more experience of the 307WRC, I felt much more at ease today and I was able to attack without holding back. With every kilometre my confidence is growing, so I hope for a good finish to this rally tomorrow, in order to start the Catalunya Rally with every opportunity to be quick from the start."
The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team completed the second leg of the Corsica Rally with Alex Bengue in seventh place and Jan Kopecký 12th. Armin Schwarz withdrew from the rally after the day's opening stage.
Armin Schwarz/Klaus Wicha: "We had a severe handling problem on today's opening stage that caused an excessive level of tyre wear. It wasn't the fault of Michelin but it meant that it was really too dangerous to continue until we could find out what was causing the problem."
Alex Bengue/Caroline Escudero: "The first stage today was very slippery and I was probably a bit too careful but the second stage was better. On the third stage I had a tyre vibration for the last 24kms so I couldn't push to the maximum and lost seventh place to Xavi Pons but I got it back on the final stage. It has been a great battle with Xavi today and I hope I can stay ahead of him tomorrow."
Jan Kopecký/Filip Schovanek: "I am continuing to learn this rally and am working very hard to not take risks. I can drive quicker on the second runs through the stages which is how it should be so I am quite happy."
The Mitsubishi Motors Motor Sports WRC crew of "Gigi" Galli/Guido d'Amore hold ninth position at the end of the second leg of the Rallye de France - Tour de Course. Lancer WRC05 team-mates Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen have moved into 11th, while Gilles and Herve Panizzi have been forced to retire the car from the leg due to engine-related problems.
Harri Rovanpera/Risto Pietilainen: "We had to switch to the manual gearshift again in the first stage this morning and it's not so easy. This afternoon we had the same problems, but also tried harder springs at the front which made the car a little more precise on the smooth surfaces, but when it was rough the car was bumping more. Positively, for sure we can see that Pirelli's evolution tire is much better."
Gilles Panizzi/Herve Panizzi: Retired (Engine)