Before Rally d'Italia Sardegna
Citroen junior championship driver Brice Tirabassi talks about his preparation for the forthcoming Rally d'Italia Sardegna.
When was the last time you drove a Super 1600 car on gravel?
"With the exception of our pre-Sardinia testing,
my most recent experience on the loose dates back to the 2003 JWRC. I can still remember how difficult it was doing the stages with our front-wheel drive cars after the WRC runners had been through and the permanent fear we had of picking up a puncture. You've got to find the ideal pace enables you to minimise the risk of puncturing and also guarantee your chances of reaching the finish. And that's not easy, especially when that ideal pace is different for every stage and can even change several times in the course of the same stage. From what I am told, punctures are fairly common in Sardinia! If you do pick one up, the aim is to keep time loss to a minimum by changing the wheel as speedily as possible, and that's something we practice."
How did testing go?
"I was keen to drive the C2 Super 1600 on gravel which is the type of surface I grew up on.
We did two sessions, one of which was in Alès, in the south of France, where the technical staff has good benchmarks after its work there last year. Everything went well, I believe, and we essentially focused on optimising traction which we will fine-tune during shakedown. Personally, I feel increasingly comfortable with the car and I'm in great shape, so I can't wait to get started!"
It promises to be a close fight…
"This will be our first face-to-face contest with 'Pigi' Andersson and Guy Wilks, although I did compete against them in 2003. They are strong opponents who now know the championship very well. It will be important to try to finish ahead of them which, I suppose, equates to wanting to win. It's a tough challenge but we will just have to go for it."
Press release Citroen