A weekend to forget for OMV Kronos

A weekend to forget for OMV KronosFrom Citroen Press [ 14/10/2007 ].
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The OMV Kronos Citroen World Rally Team will put the “Rallye de France – Tour de Corse” behind them as fast as possible. Both Francois Duval and Manfred Stohl never stood a chance due to technical defects. While the faulty generator forced the Belgian OMV driver to retire the 35-year-old Austrian had to wrestle with a fuel pump problem. He finished the 13th run to the FIA World Rally Championship in 14th overall place. Thus the OMV driver missed one WRC-point for the manufacture ranking by only 14,8 seconds.

Principle of hope
On the last day of the Corsica Rally Manfred Stohl once more completed a test run under racing conditions. There was no more to gain following the problems with the fuel pump (one cable had been disconnected) on the second day when he lost 17 minutes. But the OMV driver was anything but satisfied with 14th place. Stohl: “That’s no fun anymore. The whole team tries desperately but there is no progress. All that remains now is hope. Perhaps Japan will bring on the turnaround. Such a series just has to end sometime. We’re sporadically achieving very good times. If we manage to keep that going for a whole rally we’ll be up top again.”

Defective generator
Just like in Germany and Spain Francois Duval gave a marvellous performance. The Belgian OMV driver went to the limit and could only be beaten by the works cars of Citroen and Ford. Thus he moved up to fourth overall place early on and brilliantly held off the attacks by Jari-Matti Latvala (Fin/Ford) and Subaru works driver Petter Solberg (Nor). But after he had finished the last special stage of day two despite several problems (switch from wheel- to manual gear change) in fourth overall place he finally had to give up on the way to the service. Duval: “The generator already broke down on the eleventh special stage. We could only go on in safety mode from then on. I had hoped we would make it to the service but six kilometres short of Ajaccio everything broke down. A repair would have taken too long and wouldn’t have made sense since we didn’t stand a chance for WRC-points anymore.”

Loeb keeps his cool
Sebastien Loeb (Fra/Citroen C4 WRC) has won the French run to the FIA World Rally Championship for the third time in a row. After the three-times World Champion had slightly broken away on the second day he also kept his cool on the final leg. After 16 special stages he finished 23,7 seconds ahead of Marcus Grönholm (Fin/Ford Focus WRC) and thus recouped two further points in the World Championship ranking. Currently the Finn leads by four points. But he could be able to retaliate in less than two weeks at the gravel-surface run in Japan. Dani Sordo (Citroen C4 WRC) came in third. This time around the Spaniard hadn’t been able to help his boss, Loeb, since he never came really close to Grönholm.

Final standings after 16 special stages
01. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (F) Citroen C4 WRC 3:28:31,5 hrs.
02. Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Fin) Ford Focus WRC +23,7 sec.
03. Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (Spa) Citroen C4 WRC +44,3 sec.
04. Jari-Matti Latvala/Mikka Anttila (Fin) Ford Focus WRC +2:30,5 min.
05. Petter Solberg/Phil Mills (Nor) Subaru Impreza WRC +2:42,1 min.
06. Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot (Aus) Subaru Impreza WRC +3:53,8 min.
07. Jan Kopecky/Filip Schovanek (CZ) Skoda Fabia WRC +8:02,9 min.
08. Xavier Pons/Xavier Amigo (Spa) Subaru Impreza WRC +9:34,2 min.
14. Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor (A) Citroen Xsara WRC +22:17,0 min.