Turkey : Kronos Citroen WRT - Finish
The final leg of the Rally of Turkey on Sunday was short, consisting of three special stages made up of 51 competitive kilometres. However, Kronos Racing's two young Spaniards put it to excellent use. Xevi Pons and Dani Sordo concluded
an excellent rally by making up two and three places respectively on the final day. Pons ended up just off the podium, while reigning Junior World Champion Sordo was seventh. Colin McRae/Nicky Grist were forced into retirement on the final stage with an alternator problem.
This morning, Xevi Pons and Carlos del Barrio started the first short stage of the day (Tekirova 2, SS17) 23.8 seconds behind Chris Atkinson and 25.5 seconds behind Kosti Katajamäki.
« Our second-fastest time on the short stage got our day off to a good start, » said a delighted Xevi. « I felt very comfortable with the car, our tyre choice was good and our confidence was high. When we pushed hard in Chimera [SS18] we got to within 12 seconds of our rivals. At the start of the final stage, Carlos and I decided to go for it. The first two splits weren't in our favour, so we pushed even harder. Then we began to be faster on the splits, which increased our confidence. In the end, we did it ! I'm very happy for ourselves but also for our team, which has given us unwavering support – even when things were not going so well and an extremely competitive car that was always easy to drive. »
Dani Sordo and Marc Marti found themselves in an identical situation to their team mates. Manfred Stohl had a 6.
3 second advantage over the Xsara, while Francois Duval was 9.5 seconds up the road. Not only did Dani and Marc share the same situation with their team mates, but also the same determination and the same result. Having set his first fastest stage time on gravel yesterday, Dani could have maybe set another in Olympos had Petter Solberg (who was re-starting the leg under the super rally system) been in front of him rather than curiously benefitting from a better road position behind him. Nonetheless, Dani will take away happy memories from this rally.
« I was here in Turkey for the first time, » he said. « It's a nice rally and quite specialised. From the beginning I had a Xsara that was forgiving and easy to drive : exactly what you need in these conditions. My notes were accurate, and there were not too many surprises. OK, on Friday I went for a tyre choice that was hardly ideal. On the other hand, I set some quick times on the first run through some of the stages, I also set my first fastest time on gravel – which is something I won't forget – and finally I finished the rally pushing hard. It's all very encouraging. »
For Kronos Racing principal Marc Van Dalen, this rally without Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena was obviously difficult. « Colin and Nicky's retirement was naturally a shame for our chances in the constructors' championship, » he said. « In such a closely-fought contest, every point counts. But I'm very pleased with the performance of our two young Spaniards. They've each been through a difficult period, during which we tried to help them as much as possible. Their performance here in Turkey – particularly on the final leg – proves once more that they are made of stern stuff. To have Xevi and Dani back on top form is obviously great news for all the battles that are still to come. »
Press release Citroen Kronos WRT