Third round out of 14 for the 2002 FIA World Rally Championship, second round out of eight for the 2002 FIA Production Car World Rally Championship.
This is the first of two successive all-asphalt rallies and the first non-winter rally of the season. The change in the championship calendar order means that this will be the second Tour de Corse in five months! Being the first clear-asphalt event of the season, one can expect more technical innovations here than usual. Both Subaru and Hyundai will launch their 2002 'evolution' version World Rally Cars on this event. Total of 67 entries including 16 manufacturers' cars (no official Citroens), seven world class World Rally Car entries, 21 Production Car World Championship entries and 23 privateers in a variety of cars. There is no ceremonial start.
2002 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
Drivers’ Championship: 1st Marcus Gronholm 12 points; 2nd Tommi Makinen 10p; 3rd Carlos Sainz 8p; 4th Sebastien Loeb and Harri Rovanpera both 6p; 6th Colin McRae 4p; 7th Richard Burns 3p; 8th Petter Solberg 1p.
Tim, I like your picks. I’m trying to come up with some kind of argument with your predictions but I think they are right on. You have to find some time and do the “Tony Tellier style handicapping sheet”, that would be way cool!
Traditionally, the Corsican event was held in October, but a move to early spring led to the possibility of snow or ice on the mountain stages above the island's capital Ajaccio. But Corsica is experiencing mild conditions currently and the stages were reported to be ice-free during the recce, which is scheduled to finish this evening. Conditions have been changeable in Ajaccio, with warm, bright sunshine on Monday, overcast, grey skies yesterday and a thunderstorm hitting the western part of the island last night.
Showers may hit the shakedown on Thursday, but drier more settled weather is expected over the weekend. However, conditions in the mountains are always unpredictable, so don't rule out the odd shower throughout the rally.
The only "slump" Tommi might be in is that his regular navigator is still out. They hit a cliff-side late last year (in this race?) and Risto Manisenmaki had to be airlifted out. Tommi is like the Ivan Stewart of rally: he could show up blind, one legged, arm in a cast, and still kick a$$! Besides, he's still kinda new to the Sube.
The interesting rumor I heard was that Colin McRae will go to Subaru for 2003. Imagine that team: McRae and Makinenen! I for one really appreciate all the resources that Subaru is spending on European and American Rally. I hope Ford, GM, Hyundai and all the rest start throwing in the big bucks too.
Happy motoring, Tim<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by TimHayosh on 03/07/02 08:53 AM (server time).</FONT></P>
Peugeot drivers hold the top three positions at the end of the opening
day of the Tour de Corse, the third round of the FIA World Rally
Championship. Frenchman Gilles Panizzi and his navigator, brother
Hervé, enjoy a narrow overnight lead over the team-mate Marcus Grönholm.
Reigning world champion Richard Burns is third.
Today's five stages to the east of Ajaccio looked set to be held in
dry conditions but as is often the case, the fickle Corsican climate
had other ideas. Many of the crews had to tackle SS4 in light rain and
for the last test, only the first couple of cars got away with even
damp conditions as heavy rain began to fall. Panizzi's advantage was
slashed by Grönholm as a result.
The event already looks set to host a scrap between the Peugeots and
Subarus, since the 206s' nearest challenger is Finn Tommi Mäkinen
(Subaru Impreza). However, the Ford of Carlos Sainz occupies fifth
and both he and team-mate Colin McRae will be hoping that the damp
conditions will continue tomorrow, since it should suit their Focus/
Pirelli package better.
Peugeot's Gilles Panizzi has claimed the fourth world championship
rally win of his career on the Tour de Corse, the third round of the
FIA World Rally Championship, which finished in Corsica today. The
Frenchman and his navigator, brother Hervé, finished more than 40
seconds clear of team-mates Marcus Gronholm/Timo Rautiainen as their
Peugeot team celebrated a one-two-three result. Reigning world champion
Richard Burns and navigator Robert Reid completed the formation finish.
Today's final four stages were held on predominantly dry conditions
in contrast to the rain and mist of yesterday. But there was still
plenty of late drama on the mountain roads east of Ajaccio. Philippe
Bugalski claimed fourth overall in his privately-entered Citroen,
but only after Ford's Colin McRae crashed heavily in the penultimate
stage. The 1995 world champion was taken to hospital suffering from
concussion and a suspected broken finger on a bad afternoon for
Ford - Carlos Sainz lost out to a charging Petter Solberg in the
closing stages too.