Ypres Rally - Citroen Sport - Leg 1
A diligent, cautious run from Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack BoyŤre has seen the CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 pair complete Friday's opening leg in fifth place in the provisional classification for European Rally Championship (ERC) runners.
is a tough enough event as it is when the weather is fine, but when rain moves in over this part of western Belgium, it is always guaranteed to add a little extra spice to the proceedings!
Simon Jean-Joseph started yesterday's action third on the road and preferred to make a cautious tyre choice following the heavy rain that fell throughout the day prior to the start.
"The stages are very greasy and offer precious little grip," observed the CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 driver, "so we preferred to take the safe option of re-cut intermediates. I have always tended to favour caution here and it's a tactic that has always paid!"
Over the fast but narrow roads of the region, where changes in the amount of grip available are frequent, the drivers face a delicate task and need to be constantly on their toes. After the opening loop, which featured some 45km of stages, Simon was reassured at the first service halt.
"The conditions were really difficult, alternating between wet and dry all the time. There were so many places where you could be caught out and I was pleased with my tyre choice, although finding the ideal pace wasn't easy," he said.
As the stages began to dry, Simon and Jack made several changes to the set up of their C2 Super 1600's suspension for the second loop which was identical to the first. The CitroŽn crew also switched to slicks, although the two spare wheels they were carrying were fitted with wet weather rubber just in case the weather took a turn for the worse again as darkness set in.
Driving at night was another challenge that had to be taken onboard although, in the end, it didn't have any adverse effect on the rest of their day and the CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 pair reached the celebrated Ypres Market Place overnight halt in fifth place in the classification for European Rally Championship runners.
"I am pleased that the short but nonetheless difficult opening leg is behind us. Given the conditions, I didn't feel entirely comfortable. I also had a few scares on every one of this evening's stages and that wasn't ideal for confidence," said Simon, adding: "Tomorrow, my intention is to up my pace progressively in accordance with the game plan I set myself before the start, and also try not to make any mistakes..."
Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack BoyŤre will have their work cut out for them during Saturday's second and final leg Ė the longest of the weekend with nearly 200km of stages Ė as they attempt to move up the leaderboard.
The hope is that the poor weather, which would be a real handicap for the CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 crew against the four-wheel drive machinery ahead of them, will stay away.
Source Citroen Sport