McRae & Grist victorious in Corsica Victory on the 42nd Tour de Corse for the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist has reaped rich rewards and turned the FIA World Rally Championship leaderboard on its head.
McRae & Grist victorious in Corsica
Victory on the 42nd Tour de Corse for the 555 Subaru World Rally Team crew of Colin McRae and Nicky Grist has reaped rich rewards and turned the FIA World Rally Championship leaderboard on its head. Ten valuable points has catapulted McRae to the number one position in the Drivers' Championship and, in the all-important Manufacturers' Championship, Subaru has taken the lead by three points. The team's domination over the asphalt roads on Corsica was underlined by a fantastic double podium result with team-mates Piero Liatti and Fabrizia Pons finishing a fine third. "This is brilliant result and puts us exactly where we want to be and Subaru back on course for their fourth consecutive World title," said Colin. "Today has been tougher because the conditions have been much drier, but we were lucky to have established a good lead and didn't have to push like mad. Historically our Pirellis have been good here, especially in the wetter conditions, so I don't think we could have asked for more. We knew we'd be competitive in Corsica because the majority of our tarmac testing was done here and the win is even sweeter after our disappointments in Spain." McRae started the final Leg with a forty-seven second advantage over Sainz and, although not fastest on the opening two stages, extended his lead to fifty-five seconds. With a battle for the remaining points-scoring positions raging behind him, the Scot kept his head in the dry and sunny conditions and cruised to an emphatic 27 second victory. Team-mates Piero Liatti and Fabrizia Pons started the day in third position but within two stages were three-tenths of a second ahead of Sainz and in second position. Determined not to lose his position, Sainz took a gamble on tyres on the following stage. Running without the anti-deflation mousse it was almost inevitable the Spaniard would have a puncture and the consequence lost him valuable points in Corsica. With Sainz out of the frame, Francois Delecour piled the pressure on Liatti over the dry asphalt mountain roads. Tension reached fever point as the leading crews were locked in a battle of epic proportions going into the final stage; second, third, fourth and fifth positions split by a mere nineteen seconds. But, as hard as he pushed, Piero was unable to hold off the final challenge from Delecour as the light-weight Peugeot's advantage took hold and the Frenchman nipped ahead by just two seconds. "Everyone was very very fast today and there was a big battle for second position between five drivers," said Piero. "There was no way we could have gone faster and we tried our best. Obviously it is a bit disappointing not to be second, but it is still a good result for us and for the team." The World Championship contenders now head to the American continent for the high-speed gravel stages of Rally Argentina (20-23 May) where the 555 Subaru World Rally Team finished 2nd and 3rd in 1997 with Colin McRae and Kenneth Eriksson. Tour de Corse - Final Results
DRIVER CAR TOTAL TIME DIFF STAGES WON 1 Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 WRC98 4.02.46.9 1,=5,7,8,11 2 Francois Delecour Peugeot 306 Maxi (F2) 4.03.14.1 27.2 =14,15 3 Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza 555 WRC98 4.03.16.9 30.0 4,=5,6,12 4 Gilles Panizzi Peugeot 306 Maxi (F2) 4.03.23.0 36.1 18 5 Bruno Thiry Ford Escort World Rally Car 4.03.32.7 45.8 2,13,=14,17 6 Didier Auriol Toyota Corolla World Rally Car 4.05.26.2 2.39.3 7 Fabien Doenlen Citroen Xsara Kit Car (F2) 4.06.48.0 4.01.1 8 Carlos Sainz Toyota Corolla World Rally Car 4.06.50.4 4.03.5 3,9,10 9 Juha Kankkunen Ford Escort World Rally Car 4.07.34.5 4.47.6 10 Patrick Magaud Citroen Xsara Kit Car (F2) 126.96.36.199 8.12.2 Note: SS16 was cancelled.