Mexico : Kronos Citroën WRT - Finish
Continuing their fantastic drive, the Citroen Xsara crew of Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena took their 21st World Championship victory in Leon, which was also the first for the Kronos team. It was a double celebration as the squad took
the lead of both the drivers and manufacturers championships. Following in the footsteps of the reigning World Champions, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti finished just off the podium, on the Spaniard's gravel debut in a World Rally Car.
Secured in a country renowned for its beauty and party atmosphere, Sébastien's impressive victory was as invigorating as a shot of tequila. The win was achieved in three phases. On Friday Seb and Daniel swept the roads clean for the benefit of Petter Solberg amongst others, but still hung on grimly to limit the deficit to just a half a minute.
The next step was to make up the time lost, reducing the gap to a combative Solberg. It was only on Saturday night, after SS13, that Seb found any sort of breathing space. The final phase of the victory plan, which took place this morning, consisted of controlling the lead precisely. A painstaking task at which Seb and Daniel excel.
All victories taste sweet, but for Seb – sheltering under a sombrero – this one was special. « To start with, it's the first win that I have the pleasure of sharing with the Kronos team, » he said. « Also, I've won a rally that has not been kind to me in the past. Finally, it's been a win that I've had to go out and grab by the scruff of the neck. The tight battle makes this victory really worth it. Also, it's put us at the top of the championship. In other words, everything is good! »
The same joy was shared by Dani Sordo, who revelled fully in the exuberance of youth. « How do I describe it? » he commented. « Fourth place is fantastic in itself. Added to that is the satisfaction of having had a good feeling with the Xsara on gravel, setting some decent times, and having made only one mistake – a spin at the start of the rally. Also, I have the knowledge that next I am going to drive the Xsara on asphalt on my home rally – the surface on which I have most experience. So how do you think I feel! »
Understandably, emotion ran high for Marc Van Dalen, Kronos Total Citroen team principal. « I feel very proud of our team, » he said. « It's a big day for Kronos Racing. This win is the result of a complex process that started a long time ago, with the aim of reaching the top. It's also the reward for all the work we did last year, as well as during the off season, to put our plan for collaboration with Citroen into place, which trusted us and rent us perfect cars. This triumph tastes all the sweeter because it has been given to us by Sébastien and Daniel – an extraordinary duo both in the car and out of it. Now we must not rest: we have to keep working and build on our success. »
Press release Citroen Kronos WRT