Tour de Corse : Citroen / JWRC - Preview
Four Citroen C2 Super 1600s will line up for the start of the Tour de Corse. The Czech Republic's Martin Prokop/Jan TomŠnek, who topped the JWRC standings in Catalunya, will not be in Corsica since they did not nominate the French
round as part of their programme.
However, P.H. Sport will run the three C2 Super 1600s entered for Kris Meeke/Glenn Patterson, Brice Tirabassi/Jacques-Julien Renucci and Julien Pressac/Gilles de Turckheim, while Aaron Burkart's car will be looked after by Prinz Rallye Technik (PRT). All four crews share a single objective: to build on the C2's obvious potential to glean as many championship points as possible.
The C2 Super 1600 emerged from its maiden JWRC outing Ė the 2005 Monte Carlo Rally Ė with a win to its name in the hands of Kris Meeke. After that, it went on to show its potential on the loose with two victories from the three gravel rounds of last year's championship. It rounded off the season by being the fastest car by far on the 'clear' asphalt of first Corsica (11 JWRC 'fastest times' from 12) and then Catalunya (12 from 15). Then, less than a fortnight ago, it went one better by claiming every one of the sixteen 'fastest times' up for grabs during the RallyRACC Catalunya(Kris Meeke 14, Martin Prokop 2).
Hopes are consequently quite high in the CitroŽn camp for the forthcoming visit to Corsica. "We were really pleased to see young Martin Prokop win in Catalunya driving Kris Meeke's car from 2005," says CitroŽn Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton.
"We are effectively very attentive to the performance of our former cars. To ensure their drivers are able to maintain the potential of their machines, we follow them closely and we are forever seeking to improve the Customer Competition Ďboutique' that runs out of CitroŽn Sport's premises."
"Even so, we are still a little frustrated by the result in Catalunya," continues Yves. "We were fastest on every stage and three of our cars figured on the podium at one moment or another. For a variety of reasons however, only two made it into the final top-3, and our points haul wasn't as big as we had hoped. It wasn't up to what the format of the 2006 championship demands. We have looked carefully at what didn't function and we go to Ajaccio with every intention of doing better."
There is also a desire for revenge amongst the CitroŽn crews. Kris Meeke will be looking to score his first JWRC win on 'clear' asphalt, something his performance in Germany last year hinted at. Brice Tirabassi knows he missed out in Spain. But with his health problems now behind him, the Frenchman is determined to show the sort of form that took him to the JWRC title in 2003.
After his excellent debut in Spain, Julien Pressac will be out to confirm the excellent first impression he made, while Aaron Burkart's preoccupations are clearly of a very different nature. Following the tragic circumstances he suffered in Catalunya, the young German has met with a great deal of support and has been encouraged to compete in the Tour of Corsica with a view to bravely building himself back up mentally on the Mediterranean island.
Press release Citroen