All three Peugeots have finished in the points after an unpredictable Tour de Corse - Rallye de France. Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm ends the rally in fourth place, while Gilles Panizzi has finished in sixth. Richard Burns takes the...
All three Peugeots have finished in the points after an unpredictable Tour de Corse - Rallye de France. Reigning World Champion Marcus Gronholm ends the rally in fourth place, while Gilles Panizzi has finished in sixth. Richard Burns takes the final points-scoring place in eighth.
The rally was characterised by constantly varying conditions, which made tyre choice nearly impossible. Intermittent rain on all three days of the event meant that drivers constantly battled slippery conditions on the twisty asphalt roads.
Like every driver, Marcus struggled with tyre choice. Other than a small overshoot on the second day, his rally was trouble-free and his Peugeot 206 WRC remained reliable throughout. On the final loop of stages, he pushed hard to grab fourth place.
Marcus said: "Most of this rally was run in mixed conditions, which I hate. The majority of time was lost because it was impossible to predict which sort of tyres we needed. But I'm hoping for better conditions on the next round in Spain. There are a lot of new stages there this year which I think will suit us well."
Gilles struggled to find a good set-up on the opening day and then was on the wrong tyres for most of leg two. Yet he still managed to set a fastest stage time, and the asphalt ace is looking forward to the next rally in just four days' time.
"Corsica has been very frustrating for me," said Gilles. "After I found a car that suited me on the second day, I felt really confident. But then the tyre choices were wrong for nearly every stage, so we were nowhere near our maximum capability. Catalunya has got to be better for us."
Richard had a typically smooth and problem-free rally, but he too found it impossible to predict the right tyre choice. On the last day he was feeling unwell, so the Englishman concentrated on getting to the finish.
"The car's been good but it's difficult to push hard in constantly-changing conditions," said Richard. "In Catalunya, we'll be hoping for more consistent weather. If we get it, we should be right up there."
Peugeot Sport boss Corrado Provera commented: "It's been a difficult rally where we have not been as efficient as we could have been in our choice of tyres. Marcus as usual has been the best of all of us with another fantastic performance. Gilles has spent a lot of time looking for a set-up that we were not able to give him, while Richard was very ill today. Let's hope for better luck in Spain!"
The Catalunya Rally takes place straight after the Tour of Corsica: the first time in World Rally Championship history that two events have been so close together. The roads are wider and faster than those of Sanremo and Corsica, but the weather could again be uncertain. Gilles Panizzi won in Spain last year, and the Frenchman is hoping for a repeat of his stunning performance over the 22 asphalt stages that will be run in less than a week's time.