Friday, September 24, 2010


After a year’s absence, the Rallye de France returns to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar

Now based in Alsace, this new rally will allow the Citroën Junior Team to perform in front of its local crowd on home territory. Two Citroën C4 WRCs will be entered for Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj Lindström.

Following 35 World Championship events in Corsica, the Rallye de France now heads for Alsace. Based in Strasbourg, this all-new rally covers the whole region, visiting Mulhouse and Colmar (day one), Obernai (day two) and Haguenau (day three).

Although the event takes place in France, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia only have limited knowledge of the route. “I’ve not been back here since taking part in the Alsace-Vosges Rally three years ago,” pointed out Sébastien. “At the time it was just my second season in rallying, and I eventually finished second in my class after having to work my way back up through the order at the end of the event. All that feels like an age ago now!”

Having won in Portugal and Japan so far this year, Sébastien intends to use the Rallye de France to demonstrate his capabilities on asphalt. “With a new rally like this we start on an equal footing with everyone else in terms of experience,” he said. “That was the case in Bulgaria earlier this year as well, where we managed to set some good stage times. We need to make sure that we do a good job during the recce so that we are right on the pace from the very first run through the stages. I’ve got every confidence that the team will soon find the right set-up for the Citroën C4 WRC in these conditions. The goal for us is to be as close as possible to the very best…”

Kimi Räikkönen is becoming more and more competitive with every stage that he drives in the Citroën C4 WRC, and he was able to take the wheel of the car again recently at the Rallye Vosgien. The 2007 Formula One World Champion claimed his first rally victory on this former round of the French Rally Championship.

“We came to the rally to accumulate more kilometres of experience on asphalt,” explained Kimi. “It was more useful than a straightforward test, as it allowed us to try out quite a variety of special stages. The level in the World Rally Championship now is so high that you cannot afford to lose a single second. So you have to be completely ready from the very start. From what I have heard, the roads we have driven on during that practice event will be very similar to what we will find on the Rallye de France itself. It’s very positive to be able to prepare for a rally in this way.”

The Finn usually feels comfortable on asphalt, having set his first fastest stage time on the World Championship at the Rallye Deutschland. He will also have the advantage of competing on a rally that is brand new to everyone.

“This was the case in Turkey and in Bulgaria, both of which went well for us,” he added. “When we have the same amount of experience as the other crews, it’s definitely easier for us to be on the pace. Once again, this is proof that the key to it all is to stay patient and build up as much experience as possible.”

Source: Red Bull Rallye

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