WRC

Citroen Finland winner 2013

CITROËN TOP DRIVER – RALLY FINLAND – DAY 3 KEITH CRONIN WINS IN STYLE- 

The season’s most spectacular rally more than lived up to its reputation. Difficult and demanding in equal measure, the Finnish course rewarded the most daring and skilled crews. In the Citroën Top Driver, the DS3 R3s of Keith Cronin, Sébastien Chardonnet and Jussi Vainionpää made up the podium in the WRC3 category.

For this, the third round of the Citroën Top Driver championship, the nine crews competing in Rally Finland tackled an unusual course, a great learning experience for all drivers. The combination of ultra quick stages, endless jumps and tough weather conditions, which left the roads slippery, meant that those drivers with tenacity, good turn of speed and sound analytical capabilities were rewarded.

Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher became involved in an enthralling battle right from the word go. Throughout day one, the two drivers from across the Channel took it turns to impress although Fisher edged ahead, finishing the first six stages with a 9.2 second lead over his main rival. The next day, the pressure got the better of the British driver, who went off on “Palsankylä 1”. Keith Cronin took over as race leader at that point, a position he held until the end of the rally, also finishing as best performer with eight stages wins. The icing on the cake for the Irish driver is that he now leads the Citroën Top Driver standings by three points from Sébastien Chardonnet.

“We’re really pleased with this win, which takes us into the lead in the competition,” said a delighted Keith. “This is the first time we have competed at Rally Finland but we really had a good feeling on these roads which are still very special. The DS3 R3 was perfect and fast and we can’t wait for Germany to begin the series of tarmac rallies. We’re going to give it our best shot to hold onto our position as leader.”

Runner-up overall, the Frenchman Sébastien Chardonnet had a tough first day but managed to mount a significant comeback on day two, completing the eight stages with some flair. Fighting with local driver Jussi Vainionpää, he gradually moved ahead of the Finn, establishing a clear lead in second sport, a position he would hold until the end of the rally. Although no longer the leader of the Citroën Top Driver standings, the Côte d’Azur-based driver admitted he was pleased with his work in the land of a thousand lakes:

“It’s true that the start of the race was complicated for us, but we then found a good feeling in the car and the DS3 R3 was really great. The aim is clear in any case, we’ll be trying as hard as possible to retake the lead in the competition, starting at Rallye Deutschland!”

The surprise package of the weekend, Finnish driver Jussi Vainionpää enjoyed an intelligent race. He drove consistently, not taking any unnecessary risks on a course featuring many tricky sections. He finished third overall, a fine performance on his first rally in a Citroën DS3 R3.

Simone Campedelli finished just outside the top three, and could be pleased with his performance in Finland. After a testing start to the season, the Italian driver enjoyed a controlled race, whilst also winning two stages and fighting for third place until the last few kilometres. Meanwhile, the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert was less fortunate. Hampered by technical problems and missing a corner on the first run on Ouninpohja, he still made it into the top five at the end of three days of racing and remains third overall in the Citroën championship standings.

Stéphane Consani rounded off the standings in the Finnish round of the Driver and admitted afterwards that it was a weekend that he would rather forget about. After suffering a double puncture on Himos 2, he went off on the eleventh stage and had to rejoin under Rally2 rules. In the end, he finished the points by taking sixth place.

In the Teams’ championship, Top Teams still lead the standings, followed by Charles Hurst Citroën Belfast and Delta Rally Team.

 

FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Cronin / Clarke

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

   3:06:35.4

2

 

Chardonnet / de la Haye

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

+1:14.5

 

3

 

Vainionpää / Juntunen

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

+2:43.1

 

4

 

Campedelli / Fappani

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

+3:08.1

 

5

 

Gilbert / Galmiche

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

      +9:04.7

6

 

Consani / Veillas

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

    +44:23.0

 

 

FASTEST TIMES

Day 1: SS1 to SS3: Fisher – SS4: Cronin – SS5: Fisher – SS6: Vainionpää

Day 2: SS7: Fisher – SS8 to SS10: Cronin – SS11: Chardonnet – SS12: Cronin – SS13: Campedelli – SS14: Cronin – SS15: Vainionpää

Day 3: SS16: Vainionpää – SS17: Cronin – SS18: Chardonnet – SS19: Consani – SS20: Campedelli – SS21: Gilbert – SS22: Cronin – SS23: Consani

BEST PERFORMERS

Cronin, 8 fastest times – Fisher, 5 – Vainionpää, 3 – Chardonnet, Campedelli and Consani, 2 – Gilbert, 1.

LEADERS

SS1 to SS7: Fisher – SS7 to SS23: Cronin

RETIREMENTS

Alastair Fisher: Minor off on SS8

Stéphane Consani: Off followed by puncture on SS11 / Rejoined under Rally2 rules on Day 3

Christian Riedemann: Technical problem on SS14. Retired before SS15.

Federico Della Casa: Retired on SS14 (water in the engine) / Rejoined under Rally2 rules on Day 3

Retired on SS21 following minor off

 

CITROEN TOP DRIVER STANDINGS AFTER RALLY FINLAND

1. Cronin : 51 points

2. Chardonnet : 48 pts

3. Gilbert : 36 pts

4. Bouffier : 27 pts

5. Riedemann : 25 pts

6. Campedelli : 18 pts

7. Vainionpää :15 pts

8. Fisher : 13 pts

9. Consani : 6 pts

10. Parli : 4 pts

TEAM STANDINGS AFTER RALLY FINLAND

1. Top Teams : 84 points

2. Charles Hurst Citroën Belfast : 76 pts

3. Delta Rally Team : 33 pts

4. Saint Eloc : 31 pts