Pirelli : Loeb and Citroen Triumph in Corsica while Team Orders Help Hirvonen
Loeb-Elena (Citroen C4 WRC) have won in Corsica for the fourth consecutive time, ahead of the Pirelli-equipped Ford Focus WRCs driven respectively by Hirvonen, Duval and Latvala. Hirvonen had dropped back to fourth place after hitting a hole in the road that his rim and tyre, but he benefited from Ford team orders to claim second place. Martin Prokop (Citroen C2 S1600) won the Junior World Championship classification ahead of another C2 S1600 driven by Sebastien Ogier and local Renault Clio R3 driver Pierre Campana. With this result, Ogier has sealed the 2008 J-WRC title.
Ajaccio, 12 October 2008- Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena's win in Corsica was the 46th of their career, the 10th of their 2008 season and their fourth consecutive triumph on the Mediterranean island. Driving their PZero-equipped Citroen C4 WRC, the duo carried all before them, seemingly controlling the pace at will. Behind them was Mikko Hirvonen in second, who benefited from Ford team orders after damaging a wheel and puncturing a tyre in a hole on the first stage this morning. The time lost changing the wheel was recovered by dropping Ford team mates Duval-Pivato and Latvala-Antilla behind him before the finish.
They ended up third and fourth respectively behind the number 3 Focus-Pirelli.
"We're obviously very pleased with the result," said Daniel Elena. "This brings us even closer to our fifth world title. Today we still kept up a good pace, looking after our C4 WRC and our PZero tyres, as we needed to do on these stages. I'm not at all surprised by the strategy adopted by Ford. In any case, we didn't hold back at all and we will still be giving it everything right up to the final stage in Japan and Wales."
Jari-Matti Latvala was nonetheless pleased by his performance in Corsica, even though he did not get to climb onto the final podium. "I think I can say that my progress on asphalt is such that this has been a very positive event," said the young Finn. "After what was a bit of rough patch for me, it feels almost like a victory to be so competitive on an event that is as tough as the Tour de Corse. Given how tricky the stages today were, I concentrated on looking after the Pirelli tyres on my Ford Focus WRC as best as possible, in order not to make too many demands on them. But now it's already time to think about the Japan Rally."
Behind Jari-Matti were the PZero-equipped works Subaru Impreza WRCs of Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson.
Martin Prokop, driving a Citroen C2 S1600, claimed victory in the Junior World Rally Championship ahead of the newly-crowned Junior World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier (Citroën C2 S1600) and the Renault Clio R3 local driver Pierre Campana. Alessandro Bettega's Renault was unfortunately forced into retirement in the closing stages.