Tag Archives: Sébastien Loeb

WTCC

A WIN FOR LOEB DESPITE THE DOWNPOUR

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 - SLOVAKIA– With rain falling throughout the day at the Slovakia Ring, the 7th and 8th races of the FIA WTCC were disrupted by the weather.

– The first race was stopped before the finish due to adverse track conditions. Sébastien Loeb, who had got the better of José-María López at the start, notched up his second race win of the season.

– As the showers intensified in the late afternoon, the second race was cancelled.

Unlike qualifying, which took place in blazing sunshine, the races at the Slovakia Ring always looked like being a particularly wet affair. Heavy showers soaked the track from mid-morning onwards. The Citroën Total mechanics adapted the setup of the C-Elysée WTCCs accordingly, in time for the first race at 1.15 p.m.

Starting from pole position, José-María López fluffed his start, whereas Sébastien Loeb got off to a flyer and was leading by the first corner. López was just about hanging on to second position, ahead of Norbert Michelisz. Yvan Muller also found himself in trouble when the red lights went out, dropping down to fourth. He then picked up a drive-through penalty for moving before the start.
With better visibility than his rivals, Sébastien Loeb was able to open up a lead over José-María López. After serving his penalty, Yvan Muller rejoined the race in 14th position. He provided some entertainment in the chasing pack by overtaking first Borkovic, then Bennani, Munnich and Valente.

This brilliant recovery was cut short, however, when the safety car was brought out. There was simply too much water on the track, and the officials decided to bring the race to a halt by raising the red flag after 9 of the planned 11 laps. As more than 75% of the full distance had been completed, full points were awarded.

After a brief period of respite, the showers returned with a vengeance in the late afternoon. Race 2, scheduled for 5.45 p.m., was cancelled just a few minutes before the start.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “Seb got off to an exceptional start and that’s what earned him his second win of the season. Pechito didn’t take any risks, knowing that second place would still stand him in good stead in the championship. Yvan’s chances, however, evaporated at the start. The rain had become heavier and heavier and the race could not reasonably continue, so the race officials did the right thing. The decision to cancel race two was also understandable. We saw all afternoon how hard the track was to drive on, and a race contested in those conditions wouldn’t have been much of a sporting spectacle.”

Sébastien Loeb: “Pechito was very strong from the start of the weekend and I didn’t think I would be able to beat him! I got off to an excellent start and was leading by the first corner. As I had the best visibility, I was able to attack to open up a bit of a gap. Then the rain got heavier and it became very dangerous. The grip was changing hugely from one lap to the next and drivers were aquaplaning almost everywhere. It was a good decision to bring out the safety car – I was even struggling to keep up with it – and then to stop the race. This win gives me valuable points and a boost to my confidence after a difficult weekend at the Hungaroring.”

José-María López: “I didn’t get a good start. It’s really been a weakness for me all season, and I have to keep working hard to improve. But in those conditions, second place was a good result. I tried to attack to keep up the pressure on Seb, but I had trouble anticipating the aquaplaning because I couldn’t see where the big puddles were. I think the race had to be stopped. It was impossible to drive in those conditions.”

Yvan Muller: “I made a mistake at the start. My car moved forward a metre, then I stopped, before setting off again when the red lights went out. I knew I was going to get a drive-through, and I didn’t attack until I received the penalty. I rejoined the pack and managed to gain a few places and pick up a point. The officials made the right decision in stopping the first race and cancelling the second one.”

STANDINGS

RACE 1
1. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
2. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +1’’105

3. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) +2’’435
4. Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +4’’081
5. Tom Chilton (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +5’’205
6. Gianni Morbidelli (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +6’’026
7. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) +6’’960
8. Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC) +7’’410
9. Rob Huff (Lada Granta 1.6T) +8’’359
10. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +9’’457
Fastest lap: Sébastien Loeb (2’18’’193)

RACE 2
Cancelled

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: DRIVER STANDINGS
1. José-María López: 138 points
2. Sébastien Loeb: 113 pts
3. Yvan Muller: 109 pts

4. Tiago Monteiro: 71 pts
5. Gabriele Tarquini: 52 pts

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: MANUFACTURER STANDINGS
1. Citroën Total: 323 points

2. Honda: 204 pts
3. Lada: 131 pts

wtcc

MULLER AND LÓPEZ PULL THEIR WEIGHT!

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 - HUNGARORING– The Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs pulled off another one-two today, with José-María López finishing second to Yvan Muller in the first race at the Hungaroring.
– On a circuit where overtaking opportunities are hard to come by, the Citroën drivers were not able to work their way into the podium places in race 2.
– José-María López and Citroën Total continue to lead the World Championship standings. The Argentine driver keeps his lead in the Drivers’ standings, while Yvan Muller has now moved ahead of Sébastien Loeb.

After dry conditions for qualifying, there was some uncertainty as to the weather conditions that could be expected for the two races scheduled for early this afternoon. There was torrential rain overnight, but it stopped a few hours before the start.

When the red lights went out, Yvan Muller and José-María López capitalised on their grid positions to move out in front. Sébastien Loeb, however, made a mess of his start and found himself boxed in at the first corner. The driver of Citroën C-Elysée WTCC n°9 finished the first lap in seventh place, behind Muller, López, Monteiro, Tarquini, Bennani and Michelisz.

Yvan Muller managed to open up a lead, but Pechito López kept up the pressure on his teammate. Meanwhile, Sébastien Loeb was trying to find a way past Norbert Michelisz. Despite their efforts, the Hungaroring lived up to its reputation, and there was no more overtaking to be seen. So Yvan Muller claimed his second race win of the season, with José-María López and Tiago Monteiro joining him on the podium.
After a short break, the cars returned to the track for a rematch. Due to the reverse grid system, Loeb, López and Muller started from 8th, 9th and 10th.

Gianni Morbidelli led at the first corner, from Tiago Monteiro, Hugo Valente (who had started from pole) and Tom Coronel. Showing inspired form from the off, Yvan Muller managed to slip in between his teammates and grab fifth position from José-María López. Once again, Sébastien Loeb failed to take the best option, ending lap 1 in ninth place.

Very quickly, Morbidelli, Monteiro and Valente pulled away from the chasing pack, while Muller and López could not find a way past Coronel. That was how things finished, meaning the Citroën drivers missed out on a podium place.

This weekend’s results see José-María López hold his lead in the World Championship, while Yvan Muller has moved past Sébastien Loeb into second spot. In the Team standings, Citroën Total has extended its lead to 99 points

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton: “Considering the nature of the circuit and the compensation ballast introduced before the meeting, this has been a very positive weekend for us. We can be proud of winning the top three spots in qualifying and finishing first and second in race 1. We knew that it would be almost impossible to get back on the podium at the end of race 2. The starts were the only opportunities we had to move up the field. After that, there was no overtaking in either race. The other thing this meeting has taught us is that the teams are now demonstrating very similar levels of performance. That’s a good sign for the rest of the season.”

Yvan Muller: “We knew that the start would be crucial on this circuit. In race 1, I attacked and managed to open up a bit of a lead on José. When he came back at me, I was able to show him that I could respond in kind. I was able to look after my tyres in the last few laps and notch up another win. I’ve always won the first race here and it’s nice to continue that run! I’m also satisfied with fifth place in race 2. It’s not just the podium finishes that help you win a championship.”

José-María López: “Yvan was just better in every department this weekend. But after three meetings I’m still leading the championship and that’s better than I had hoped for before the season began! Even though it’s almost impossible to overtake here, I think the public saw some interesting races, and that’s good for the championship as a whole.”

Sébastien Loeb: “I had two difficult starts: each time I chose the worst option! In race 1, when I saw that my competitors were all keeping tight to the inside, I tried to get round on the outside, but I ended up getting boxed in. So as not to suffer the same fate twice, I positioned myself on the inside in race 2, but I still got overtaken on the other side. I don’t know if you can put it down to a lack of experience or success, but my starts meant I was out of the running from the off. I hope to put things right next week in Slovakia!”

RESULTS

RACE 1
1. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 14 laps
2. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +1’’282
3. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) +8’’961
4. Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC) +13’’980
5. Mehdi Bennani (Honda Civic WTCC) +14’’747
6. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) +16’’672
7. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +17’’475
8. Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +22’’863
9. Gianni Morbidelli (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +27’’891
10. Hugo Valente (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +36’’287
Fastest lap: Yvan Muller (1’50’’119)

RACE 2
1. Gianni Morbidelli (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) 14 laps
2. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) +0’’350
3. Hugo Valente (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +1’’206
4. Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +5’’104
5. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +5’’435
6. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +5’’605
7. Tom Chilton (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1) +6’’306
8. Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC) +7’’828
9. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) +8’’308
10. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) +8’’842
Fastest lap: Tiago Monteiro (1’51’’088)

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: DRIVER STANDINGS
1. José-María López: 115 points
2. Yvan Muller: 105 pts
3. Sébastien Loeb: 84 pts
4. Tiago Monteiro: 65 pts
5. Gabriele Tarquini: 48 pts

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: MANUFACTURER STANDINGS
1. Citroën Total: 271 points
2. Honda: 172 pts
3. Lada: 112 pts

WTCC AT MARRAKECH

075_LOEB

PRACTICE 2 – MULLER OUSTS LÓPEZ

Citroën cars continued to set the pace at Marrakech’s street circuit.

After Yvan Muller topped yesterday’s testing and Sébastien Loeb this morning’s practice one, it looked it was Jose María López’s turn to be fastest in the second practice.
Midway through the session, the Argentine missed the braking point at T10, however he was able to avoid contact with the wall and in the following lap clocked a provisional fastest lap of 1:43.500.
But Muller came back. After spoiling a first try due to cutting a chicane, the reigning champion was eventually able to oust López from the top, stopping the clock at 1:43.437. Loeb was classified third with a best lap of 1:44.572.
A trio of Chevrolet cars ranked behind the Citroën trio: Tom Chilton (1:44.975) in fourth, Dušan Borković (1:45.264) in fifth and Hugo Valente (1:45.528) in sixth. They were followed by Rob Huff’s LADA (1:45.695) and Mehdi Bennani’s Honda (1:46.154). Franz Engstler continued to reign in the TC2T class ahead of Petr Fulín.
The session was red-flagged once after eight minutes because of an incident between Gabriele Tarquini and Gianni Morbidelli at T5. Tarquini’s Honda was trying to rejoin after missing the braking point and it was t-boned by Morbidelli’s Chevrolet. Both Italian drivers were sidelined for the rest of the time.
Once again James Thompson was forced to skip most of the session due to a technical issue, while Tom Coronel was only able to join in the final minutes after the ROAL Motorsport crew finished repairs following his crash in the first practice.

WRC

Monte Carlo Rally Citroen

82ND RALLYE AUTOMOBILE MONTE-CARLO (14-19/01/2014) – PREVIEW
CITROËN RACING OPENS ITS SEASON AT THE RALLYE MONTE-CARLO—

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  • Citroën Racing gets its sporting season underway at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the first round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
  • Two DS3 WRCs are competing on behalf of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. They will be driven by the crews Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (no.3) and Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (no.4).
  • For the first time since it began competing in the WRC, Citroën Racing has completely changed its driver line-up from one season to the next.
  • Starting with the ID19 in 1959 and most recently in the DS3 WRC in 2013, Citroën has won in Monaco nine times.

 

CITROËN AND THE RALLYE MONTE-CARLO: A SHORT HISTORY LESSON…

Among its record number of WRC wins (93 victories since 2001), Monte-Carlo has a very special place in Citroën’s sporting and media history.

André Citroën was a big fan of marketing and therefore had no hesitation in entering his latest model at the 1934 rally. This was in spite of the fact the new car, the T45, was a pre-production vehicle, driven by a dozen or so crew members and finished the race 98th overall!

In 1959, the Brand won the rally for the first time in a Citroën ID 19 driven by Paul Coltelloni and Pierre Alexandre. Seven years later, Pauli Toivonen and Ensio Mikander secured a more unexpected win for the DS 21. Since it entered the WRC as a works team at the start of the last decade, Citroën has scored a series of wins in the Principality. In 2002, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena dominated the event, but came away as runners-up. The Franco-Monegasque pair then went on to win seven out of the next eight rallies in a Xsara WRC, C4 WRC and DS3 WRC. The 2003 rally even saw an all-Citroën podium made up of Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, Colin McRae/Derek Ringer and Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti.

Last year, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena once again proved unbeatable, dominating the event after managing to negotiate the tricky road conditions created by the weather.

VERY SPECIFIC PREPARATION FOR AN EVENT LIKE NO OTHER

A winter rally held in the hills between the Alps and the Mediterranean, the Rallye Monte-Carlo is reputed for its highly varied, testing road conditions. The tarmac can be dry or wet, covered in ice or snow: the road surface changes over time, varies in different parts of the stages and as more cars come through.

To prepare for this testing rally, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team organised several test sessions in the south east of France, close to the route of the rally.

Chief Operations Engineer for the DS3 WRCs, Didier Clément detailed the method applied by the team: “Our test campaign was split into two stages. Before Christmas, both crews spent two days in the Alpes-Maritimes department. They were able to get used to driving the Citroën DS3 WRC on roads without any tricky sections. Then, a few days ahead of the rally, we made things more difficult for them. They had to drive with studded tyres on dry roads and slick tyres on the snow. We also tested the intermediate configurations, with combined tyre set-ups. Kris and Mads had to get to grips with these kinds of situations, which can easily arise at some point or another in the rally.”

By trying to cover as many different situations as possible in testing, the team was therefore able to boost its already very extensive knowledge base. “During the rally, it’ll be a question of making the best – or the least bad – tyre choice. You have to anticipate the conditions, comparing the information provided by the gravel crews with data from our weather experts and from Météo France,” explained Didier Clément. “Using all this information, as well as our experience and feedback from testing, we recommend a tyre choice to the crews. However, it is always the driver who has the final say, because he must feel confident in the car to be able to push.”

For this rally, each driver will be able to use a maximum of 45 tyres. Within the Michelin range, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team works crews will choose between soft and super-soft slick tyres, as well as studded and non-studded winter tyres.

KRIS MEEKE’S SIXTH OUTING AT MONTE-CARLO, BUT HIS FIRST IN THE WRC!

Kris Meeke has plenty of experience of competing at Monte-Carlo, having raced here five times already: “My favourite memory goes back to 2005. It was my first rally in a Citroën; I was competing in the Junior WRC in a C2 Super 1600. The conditions were difficult, as ever, with snow and ice. I remember that year in particular, as I took the JWRC category win!”

From experience, Kris knows that Monte-Carlo can be decided by minor details: “Understanding the road – being able to read the surface conditions and reacting accordingly – is the best way to do well here. It is pointless aiming for a particular result. The goal is to be consistent, not make any mistakes and focus on the main priority, which is to make it to the finish. If everything goes well, your efforts will be rewarded by a good result.”

“Testing allowed me to get used to the handling of the DS3 WRC in particularly demanding conditions,” continued the British driver. “On the snow or ice, it’s essential to be confident in yourself and in the car. The work we did helped me to learn and improve. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what sort of weather we get in the race!”

MADS ØSTBERG IS HOPING FOR SNOW!

Reflecting on his first outing at the rally in 2013, Mads Østberg particularly remembered the legendary Col du Turini stages: “I thought I had lost several minutes, because I was struggling to find any grip. I was fighting in the car, but had the impression I was totally powerless. At the end of the stage, I was so frustrated that I took off my helmet and put my head in my hands… And then someone told me that I had actually just set the fastest time so far. I was ahead of all of the leaders!”

Like all Scandinavian drivers, Mads is especially comfortable in slippery, low-grip conditions. The Norwegian would therefore not be averse to facing genuinely wintry conditions: “Monte-Carlo is a real challenge for the first race of the season. I haven’t done a lot of miles in the car as yet, but I had a good feeling in testing. I feel that the Citroën DS3 WRC is a really steady car, with a very powerful engine. Testing gave me the chance to experience just about everything that might be thrown at us during the rally. I thought that I fared pretty well with slick tyres on the snow, although it was sometimes more a question of survival than of racing… In any case, if I could choose the weather, I’d ask for as much snow as possible!”

CLASSIC STAGES RETURN TO MONTE-CARLO

Based in Valence in recent years, the rally looks very different this year, with over 90% of the route changed compared with last year. The 82nd edition of the rally gets underway in Gap on Thursday, 16 January. The race will start with two runs on a loop of three stages, in the morning and then in the afternoon: Orpierre – Saint André de Rosans (25.49km), Rosans – Sainte Marie – La Charce (17.98km) and Montauban sur l’Ouvèze – Col du Perty – Laborel (19.34km).

On Friday, 17 January, the crews will complete another loop around Gap with Vitrolles – Col d’Espreaux – Faye (49.03km) and Selonnet – Col des Garcinets – Bréziers (22.68km). After the midday break, the cars will head for Monaco with a second run on Vitrolles – Col d’Espreaux – Faye followed by the Sisteron – Col de Fontbelle – Thoard stage (36.85km). A regroup at Digne-les-Bains will enable the teams to change tyres, before the crews tackle the Clumanc – Col du Défend – Lambruisse stage (20.77km) after nightfall.

Meanwhile, the teams will dismantle the service structures installed near to the aquatics centre in Gap. They will be reinstalled overnight on the port of Monaco, the nerve centre for Saturday’s final leg. The final day’s action will revolve around the Col du Turini with two loops of two stages, made up of La Bollène Vésubie – Col de Turini – Moulinet (23.40km) and Sospel – Col de Brouis – Breil sur Roya (16.55km). The rally is scheduled to finish at 10.41pm.

WRC

WRC Rallie de France 2013

RALLYE DE FRANCE ALSACE – 3-6/10/2013 – DAY 3—
SORDO AND LOEB BOTH IN FIGHT FOR VICTORY
 —

jour3At the peak of their powers, four crews served up a breathtaking battle for the lead of the Rallye de France Alsace, ending day three with just five seconds between them. Among them, Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio and Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena are still right there, fighting at the front. The final day’s racing promises to be absolutely spellbinding!

Overnight rain continued in the early morning, greeting the crews as they arrived at the Strasbourg service park. Unlike yesterday, tyre choice was a fairly straightforward affair this morning, with all the World Rally Cars opting for soft Michelin Pilot Sport tyres.

Proceedings began in the fog on day’s first stage, Hohlandsbourg. A little less comfortable than their main rivals, Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo lost a few seconds. And then on the Vallée de Munster stage, the Spaniard slipped from second to third position, whilst the Frenchman lost around ten seconds following a spin. “We changed my set-up after the testing we did before the rally, but now the car is oversteering quite a lot. Which is not exactly ideal in the rain,” commented the nine-time World Champion.

After a few tweaks to the suspension, however, Seb looked more assured in winning the next stage, Soultzeren (SS10). The then crews headed for Colmar for the midday service. As conditions promised to be just as wet in the afternoon, the DS3 WRCs kept their soft tyres for the second loop.

Of the five men fighting for top spot, Thierry Neuville was the first to stumble. The leader lost a minute after a minor impact and a puncture, which catapulted Dani Sordo into the overall lead in the rally. The Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team driver held firm, despite taking to the grass on SS12, broadcast live by the television cameras: “A bit like in motocross, I ran a little bit wide onto the verge. Fortunately, nothing was damaged on the car. The roads are very dirty for the second loop, so that has knocked my confidence a bit compared with this morning.”

After leading throughout the afternoon, Dani had first place snatched from him on the Mulhouse super special stage. Second overall, just four tenths behind Jari-Matti Latvala, his assessment of this third day was nonetheless eminently positive: “It’s very close despite the conditions being extreme in places. It‘s very exciting to find myself in a four- or five-way fight for the win, even more so than in Germany when there were just two of us on the Saturday evening. I feel ready to carry on in very much the same vein tomorrow…”

A few seconds back, Sébastien Loeb found himself fighting with Sébastien Ogier, who had managed to climb back into contention. 5s behind Latvala and 3.5s adrift of Ogier, the Alsatian wasn’t entirely happy: “The rain often began to fall just as we were about to start the stages this afternoon! And this time, I had trouble with the car understeering quite badly. I pushed as hard as I could, but the young guys are quick and I’m probably paying the price for not having competed in my DS3 WRC in the last few months. But I can’t complain, it’s fantastic for the crowd to see such a close fight and we still have a great chance of winning.”

By the end of the day, Mikko Hirvonen must have felt like something of a bystander, watching the scrap at the front from afar. After reclaiming seventh overall on SS8, the Finn maintained his position until the end of the leg. On his return to Strasbourg, he admitted: “As I lack confidence, I’m gradually losing ground on the others. And I just can’t put my finger on what we need to change. I’m hanging in there, trying to stay on the road and score and many points as possible tomorrow…”

Matching Evans throughout the day, Robert Kubica maintained his comfortable lead at the top of the WRC2 category. 3m 30.1s of his rival, the Pole can now manage his pace on the final leg.

 OVERALL STANDINGS

 

1 Latvala / Anttila VW Polo R WRC

2:18:58.3

 

3 Sordo / Del Barrio Citroën DS3 WRC

+0.4

 

3 Ogier / Ingrassia VW Polo R WRC

+1.5

 

4 Loeb / Elena Citroën DS3 WRC

+5.0

 

5 Neuville / Gilsoul Ford Fiesta RS WRC

+1:10.4

 

6 Novikov / Minor Ford Fiesta RS WRC

+2:16.4

 

7 Hirvonen / Lehtinen Citroën DS3 WRC

+2:43.1

 

8 Østberg / Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC

+2:57.2

 

9 Mikkelsen / Nagle VW Polo R WRC

+3:19.2

 

10 Prokop / Ernst Ford Fiesta RS WRC

+5:25.2

 

STAGE BY STAGE

 

Sébastien Loeb

Daniel Elena

 

Mikko Hirvonen

Jarmo Lehtinen

 

Dani Sordo

Carlos del Barrio

 

SS

 

Overall standings

 

SS

 

Overall standings

 

SS

 

Overall standings

 

SS8: Hohlandsbourg 1 (28.48km)

4th +6.0

 

4th +16.7

 

6th +17.5

 

7th +1:49.5

 

5th +6.6

 

2nd +15.0

 

SS9: Vallée de Munster 1 (16.73km)

5th +10.6

 

5th +26.2

 

8th +20.0

 

7th +2:08.4

 

4th +2.8

 

3rd +16.7

 

SS10: Soultzeren 1 (19.93km)

1st

 

4th +19.8

 

8th +17.9

 

7th +2:19.9

 

4th +3.9

 

3rd +14.2

 

SS11: Hohlandsbourg 2 (28.48km)

2nd +2.9

 

3rd +4.5

 

6th +17.2

 

7th +2:18.9

 

3rd +4.0

 

1st

 

SS12: Vallée de Munster 2 (16.73km)

4th +3.7

 

4th +7.5

 

7th +11.7

 

7th +2:29.9

 

3rd +0.7

 

1st

 

SS13: Soultzeren 2 (19.93km)

3rd +0.7

 

4th +5.5

 

6th +13.0

 

7th +2:40.2

 

5th +2.7

 

1st

 

SS14: Mulhouse (4.65km)

3rd +0.6

 

4th +5.0

 

7th +4.0

 

7th +2:43.1

 

4th +1.5

 

2nd +0.4

 

 

 

FASTEST TIMES

Day 1 – SS1: Sordo.

Day 2 – SS2 to SS4: Loeb – SS5 to SS7: Neuville.

Day 3 – SS8 and SS9: Ogier – SS10: Loeb – SS11 and SS12: Ogier – SS12: Neuville – SS13: Latvala

BEST PERFORMERS

Loeb, Neuville and Ogier, 4 each – Sordo and Latvala, 1 each.

LEADERS

SS1 to SS3: Sordo – SS4 and SS5: Loeb – SS6 to SS10: Neuville – SS11 to SS13: Sordo – SS14: Latvala.

WRC

WRC France 2013

RALLYE DE FRANCE – DAYS 1 & 2
CITROËN TOP DRIVER: GILBERT LAYS THE GROUNDWORK

francejour1The first two days of the Rallye de France more than lived up to expectations. And although the popularity of the Alsatian event is undeniable, the same might be said of its unpredictable weather and changing grip. However, this didn’t prevent Quentin Gilbert from impressing on the seven stages contested, leaving Sébastien Chardonnet forty seconds adrift in second, with Keith Cronin completing the provisional podium in third place.

Thursday began with the shakedown in the morning and ended with the day’s only stage, held in the centre of Strasbourg. Sébastien Chardonnet, Quentin Gilbert and Stéphane Consani were the first to feature, forming the provisional top three in the WRC3 category. Behind them was Keith Cronin, who was held up by a car setting off ahead of him, and then Christian Riedemann, who damaged his rear suspension after a minor impact.

Hard or soft compound tyres? That was the real question of the day on Friday, with the weather playing havoc with the nerves of the drivers. Conditions would indeed prove to be a key factor when it came to managing the leg’s 116 kilometres of timed stages.

Showing an impressive level of control and maturity, Quentin Gilbert was the revelation of the day. The man from the Vosges won four stages, adapting his pace to the difficulties posed by the course.

“I really enjoyed it today and the DS3 R3 was perfect,” commented Quentin at the end of Pays d’Ormont. “We pushed when the conditions were suitable, but we had to take it easier in the trickier sections. All of which means we end the day in the lead, which we’re really pleased about. We also know there is still a long way to go in the rally and that the rain can make a big difference. It is up to us now to play our cards right to hang onto the lead.”

Second in the Top Driver standings, Sébastien Chardonnet wasn’t entirely satisfied with his day. He bemoaned a poor tyre choice and admitted that his team-mate had dominated proceedings today.

Keith Cronin holds the final spot on the podium despite making several minor errors this morning. A more consistent performance on the second loop enabled him to consolidate his position.

Christian Riedemann and Enrique Garcia Ojeda round off the top five. Although the young German’s DS3 R3 was hit by rear suspension problems following a minor impact on SSS1, “Kike” gradually learned how to handle the French roads and didn’t take any unnecessary risks.

CITROEN TOP DRIVER STANDINGS AFTER DAYS 1 & 2

1

 

Gilbert / Jamoul

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

  1:16:37.9

2

 

Chardonnet / de la Haye

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

      +40.4

 

3

 

Cronin / Clarke

 

Citroën DS3 R3

 

    +1:16.3

 

4 Riedemann / Vanneste Citroën DS3 R3       +2:11.2
5 Ojeda / Odriozola Citroën DS3 R3       +2:51.8

 

 

FASTEST TIMES

Day 1 – SS1: Chardonnet

Day 2 – SS2: Chardonnet – SS3, SS4 and SS5: Gilbert – SS6: Cronin – SS7: Gilbert

BEST PERFORMERS

Gilbert, 4 fastest times – Chardonnet, 2 – Cronin, 1.

LEADERS

SS1 to SS3: Chardonnet – SS4 to SS7: Gilbert

RETIREMENTS

Stéphane Consani: personal decision