A TOUGH START IN CORSICA FOR THE C3 WRCs
Citroën Total World Rally Team’s crews Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm were unable to express their full potential today as they struggled with a less than ideal set-up on predominantly unfamiliar roads. However, with almost two thirds of this year’s Tour de Corse still to go, both crews are within striking distance of the top five.
Held between Porto-Vecchio and Propriano, today’s opening leg was unusual in that there was no mid-leg service. Only a tyre-fitting zone was scheduled at the break between the morning and afternoon loops. This made it crucial to get the set-up right from the word go, or else end up struggling the whole day.
Unfortunately, Citroën Total World Rally Team suffered throughout day one. Slowed at the start by a spin on SS1 and a less than ideal set-up, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia ended the first loop in eighth position. Meanwhile, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm made a better start, lying fifth overall before also suffering a spin (SS3), which resulted in them dropping two places.
Although they were unable to make all the set-up changes they would have liked to make in the tyre-fitting zone, the crews – the only team members allowed to work on the car – improved a number of settings on the C3 WRC with guidance from the technical team. The target was clearly to make more of their potential in the second loop. Showing considerable fighting spirit, Sébastien and Julien managed to move up into sixth overall, just 10.2s adrift of fourth place, whilst Esapekka and Janne ended today’s opening leg just behind their team-mates.
Covering just 35% of the total distance, day one of this year’s Tour de Corse was little more than an appetiser compared to tomorrow’s main course, when the rally heads towards the north of the Mediterranean island. Almost a hundred and seventy-five kilometres of timed stages await the crews, including two runs on the all-new 47.18km-long test in the central region of Castigniccia. With its narrow, winding roads, where it is very easy to get your pace wrong, there could be plenty of twists and turns to come as yet…
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“Obviously, we were hoping for better things from this opening leg but we suffered from our set-up not being completely right. With no mid-leg service, our crews were only able to make minor changes themselves and had to make the best of it until the end of the day. They nonetheless drove well considering this is their very first all-asphalt event with the C3 WRC. We are now going to try to make the most of this evening’s service to put things right and enable them to compete at their normal level tomorrow.”
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“It was a difficult day, where we struggled with understeer. We made a few minor adjustments mid-leg and that helped us to limit the time lost in the afternoon, but it wasn’t enough. We have a few ideas about how to change the set-up in order to resolve the issues, so I have high hopes that we can move in the right direction tomorrow. We’ll certainly be doing everything we can to move back up the standings.”
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“I pushed hard on the wide, fast sections of today’s stages but I had the same issues on the corners as Seb. And we also had a spin, which didn't help matters. I have faith in the team to put things right and obviously on my side, I’m going to give it everything.”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 1
- Evans / Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1:09:39.6
- Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4.5
- Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +9.8
- Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +26.1
- Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +30.9
- Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +36.3
- Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +46.3
- Loeb / Elena (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:27.9
- Camilli / Buresi (VW Polo R5) +2:46.4
- Bonato / Boulloud (Citroën C3 R5) +3:06.4
LIVE BY CITROËN RACING INFO:
C3 WRC LIVE on Facebook on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening: facebook.com/citroenracing
Live Twitter feed during the race: @CitroenRacing
Newsflash sent directly to your smartphone via WhatsApp:http://bit.ly/2FuO3MV
Sound recordings in French, English and Finnish are available on the Citroën Racing Media site, posted at the end of each leg. They can also be sent by email directly, on request – contact email@example.com
CITROËN TOTAL WRT 2019 SEASON PRESS KIT:
Aurélie Lehe – Head of Communications & Marketing, Citroën Racing +33 6 79 50 21 13 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Bellegarde – WRC Press Officer +33 6 64 15 36 03 – email@example.com