Australia : Kronos Citroen WRT - Finish
It has been a fantastic weekend in Australia for the Kronos Total Citroen team and its driver line-up of young Spaniards. The rally ended with the happy news that 14,000 kilometres away from Perth, their team leaders Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena had become FIA World Rally Champions for the third consecutive time.*
Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio underlined their strong performance of last year with another solid run on the slippery Australian stages, avoiding the pitfalls of the Murray stages (SS1-SS7) on Friday morning. For the rest of the event they were able to control their pace, putting aside their natural desire to finish on the podium in favour of securing a safe fourth place to keep Marcus Grönholm as far away from the podium as possible.
« Today was quite close to being stressful » admitted Xevi. « I was paying a lot of attention to avoiding all the stones. Many drivers made mistakes on this rally and I did not want to become one of them. »
A very emotional Carlos Del Barrio, Pons' co-driver, added. « I am happy because what has happened is right and fair. The best driver and the best co-driver are Champions. We are pleased to have been able to help them out a bit… »
Dani Sordo/Marc Marti were forced to stop on Friday and re-started on Saturday morning under the superally regulations. On unfamiliar territory, the reigning Junior World Champion's times demonstrated once more his uncanny ability to quickly adapt himself to new circumstances. With too great a time penalty to overcome, Dani was not able to fight with Seb's Finnish rival – unlike his team mate.
But having battled at the very front in Catalunya and Germany, Dani too has given his team leader a hand to win the title.
« Obviously I hoped for a better result, » admitted the Spaniard afterwards. « But this delicate balancing act, on a surface with no grip at all, has allowed me to learn a lot – which was the whole point of this year. And some of the time, my stage times and the gaps to the stage winners were encouraging. »
« Mission accomplished, thanks to excellent teamwork, » was the conclusion of Marc Van Dalen, Kronos Total Citroen. « One year ago, Citroen Sport entrusted us with the responsibility of giving Seb and Daniel the best possible chance of defending their world titles. The challenge was far from easy : we had to back up Seb and Daniel with the best rally team in the world. Everyone at Kronos Racing should feel proud. Thanks to their hard work and commitment, with perfect support from Citroen Sport, our objectives have been met.
"This emotional moment is one to savour. The miracles of the internet and modern technology have allowed us to share it with Seb and Daniel, who were on a live link to us. Now we cannot wait to have them back, so that we can celebrate this third world title together. »
* Subject to official validation from the FIA.
Press release Citroen Kronos WRT