Peugeot looking to end 2014 in style

Peugeot looking to end 2014 in styleFrom Peugeot Press [ 04/11/2014 ].
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Less than two weeks after Switzerland's Rallye International du Valais, the Peugeot Rally Academy drivers head for the legendary stages of France's Tour de Corse. Should it win on home soil, the Peugeot 208 T16, which has been extremely competitive since the start of the season, stands to match the record of its illustrious predecessors, namely the 205 T16, the 206 WRC and the 207 S2000. Meanwhile, the season's final clash will see Stéphane Lefebvre return to the Peugeot Rally Academy's ranks in his bid to secure the 2014 FIA ERC Junior crown. The event will also serve as backdrop to the 30th anniversary celebrations of the 205 GTi and T16 in the presence of lady driver Michèle Mouton and Peugeot's French sales network…

The 2014 Tour de Corse: a special 'back-to-roots' flavour

The 57th Tour de Corse event has switched back to the autumn slot it enjoyed for many years and this signals the return of the ingredients that forged the French classic's legend. Indeed, the field of 56 crews faces a cocktail of unsettled weather, the challenge of mountain roads carpeted in fallen leaves and 250 competitive kilometres divided into 11 stages set to a backdrop of traditional Corsican scenery. The Peugeot Rally Academy's Craig Breen, Kevin Abbring and Stéphane Lefebvre (208 R2) will all be in pursuit of different objectives, while Bruno Magalhães and Jonathan Hirschi have also chosen to contest the Mediterranean island event behind the wheel of a 208 T16.

Guest stars: Michèle Mouton and the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16!

The 2014 Tour de Corse will also mark the appearance of Michèle Mouton who contested the rally 11 times from 1974 until 1986. In 1986, the year she won the German Rally Championship in the colours of Peugeot Talbot Deutschland, Michèle Mouton took part in a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2. The car will be on display at this year's service parks as part of Peugeot France's 30th anniversary celebrations of the GTi and T16 names. 'Thirty Years' versions of the 208 GTi will also appear as course cars!

Craig Breen and Kevin Abbring: sights set on victory!

After producing solid runs since the beginning of the season, the two Peugeot Rally Academy drivers are keen to wrap up the year in style. Craig Breen and his co-driver Scott Martin came close to snatching victory on the recent Rallye International du Valais and are eager to reap revenge in Corsica. The Irishman, who is third in the provisional FIA European Rally Championship standings, is always a competitive force on asphalt and stands out as a potential winner of the French event that saw him come fourth in 2013. Meanwhile, Kevin Abbring and Sebastian Marshall hope to turn the tables on the ill luck they have suffered since the start of the season and crown their evident speed with a top result on the Tour de Corse.

The Dutchman has collected 23 fastest stage times so far this year and should lose no time reacclimatising to the island's roads, which he previously sampled in 2008, as he seeks to achieve the podium finish that has eluded him since the Rallye Açores.

Stéphane Lefebvre: a possible Junior 'double whammy' on home turf

With three ERC Junior victories to his name in 2014 (Açores, Ypres, Barum), Stéphane Lefebvre has a chance to win this year's FIA ERC Junior crown. The French youngster recently made sure of the WRC's Junior title and, along with co-driver Thomas Dubois, is dreaming of further glory on his home round driving a 208 R2. Success would earn him the opportunity to contest selected rounds of the 2015 FIA ERC in an R5 car. Stéphane tops the provisional standings but will need to keep a close eye on second-placed Andrea Crugnola who is also driving a 208 R2, the car he steered to Junior victory on the recent Rallye International du Valais. Two other young hopefuls in 208 R2s are Pole Aleksander Zawada and Belgium's Gino Bux.

Driver quotes:

Craig Breen: "After coming second on the Rallye International du Valais, Scott and I are more determined than ever to produce a strong performance in Corsica which is home soil for the Peugeot Rally Academy. This will be my third attempt at the Tour de Corse but this year's stages are practically all new to me so I won't have any advantage over the others. It's a rally I enjoy and the twisty stages give good grip. That said, the weather could be changeable at this time of year. I'm sure it's going to be a great rally. Even though we're no longer in the running for the title, we will do our very best to round off the season in the best possible way!"

Kevin Abbring: "The Tour de Corse is a fantastic rally but it's also hard on the cars and competitors. There aren't many different stages but they are all a big test of brakes and tyres. On top of that, the weather stands to be changeable this year. The two legs visit different parts of the island and it will be difficult to find the ideal rhythm. The only other time I did the Tour de Corse was some years back in 2008. That said, we tested on the island last month and that gave me an opportunity to get a feel for the roads again. There are a number of drivers capable of winning this rally and I can hardly wait to get started!"

Stéphane Lefebvre: "This will be our last ERC outing of the year and possibly the last in the 208 R2, too. I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of this car and we will do all we can to claim the FIA ERC Junior title. I think we will need to play it smart because second place will suffice should Andrea Crugnola take the win. If we have to push, we will, but only if it proves necessary…"