Kronos hopes to extend winning streak

Kronos hopes to extend winning streakFrom Citroen Press [ 17/05/2006 ].
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After the first six rounds of the 2006 FIA WRC, Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and the Kronos Total Citroën team stand in first place in both Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ championships thanks to four consecutive wins. To defend these positions and to try to extend its winning streak, the Belgian team enters in Sardinia two 2006 specifications Xsara WRCs for Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio.

Like it is the case since the start of the season, a third Xsara is entered by Dani Sordo and Marc Marti supported by their Spanish partners. The Junior World Champion participates with his usual car, in compliance with the 2005 regulations (electronic differentials).

For its third edition, the ‘Rallye d’Italia Sardegna’ keeps its specific repartition, with a challenging final leg including two loops of three special stages with just a regroup in between and no service. If the structure remains the same, the rally route changes and offers this year a first day in the South (Nuoro), a second going West (Gallura) and finally the last day in the North (Tempio).

“ For me, 52% of the pacenotes are new” declares Daniel Elena, who has equalled the biggest number of wins for a co-driver since Argentina. Most teams know extremely well the Sardinian terrain as they have been competing there since three years, and often use some of the roads for testing. They became familiar with the characteristic which was the most surprising at the start, that means the constant evolution of the sandy grounds. As usual, Citroën Sport’s test team has prepared the Xsara WRCs for the event with Sébastien Loeb and Xevi Pons. On that same test, the team has worked with the BFGoodrich technicians to try the tyre range.

Winner in 2005 and current leader of the Championship, Sébastien Loeb will start first on the road on Friday and will have to face the inevitable ‘road sweeping’ throughout the entire first loop comprising 65 competitive kilometres. “Usual strategy” has planned Seb . “And to be honest I only have one which is to start as fast as possible. After the first group of stages and on Friday night, we will see where we stand and what’s possible to try. In any case, I hope a fight for a win will still be possible…”

Xevi Pons has experienced various misfortunes over the past two gravel rounds. Having retired very early on a technical problem in Mexico, he had to stop during the first leg in Argentina after hitting something. Fortunately and thanks to the ‘superally’ regulations, he was able to compete in the next two legs and won his first world rally stage in difficult conditions. “For Xevi, the benefits were double” explained team principal Marc Van Dalen . “He could pile up kilometres on gravel and has set a fastest time, which will boost his confidence. He counts two participations in Sardinia and has also taken part in the pre-event tests… In a word, all the conditions are gathered for him to achieve a good result, important for him and for the team in the Manufacturers’ championship.”