23 May 2012
Matton: A long way still to go
Yves Matton says there is still a long way to go before the 2012 WRC title will be won
Citroen team boss Yves Matton insists that the race for the World Rally Championship will take plenty of twists and turns through the remainder of the season.
Citroen go into the Acropolis Rally this weekend sitting top of both championship standings, with Sebastien Loeb heading the drivers' championship after his third win of the season in Argentina.
While his team remains the one to beat with five races completed, Matton insisted there was still plenty of work to be done through the remainder of the year as Citroen seeks to wrap up more championship glory.
“The most important point is obviously to lead the Drivers' and Manufacturers' World Championship standings,” he said. “I don't think, however, that we can come to any definitive conclusions at this stage of the season. After Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Mexico, we thought that in Portugal we would get a clearer idea of the pecking order between the leading contenders in the Championship. The weather prevented us from seeing a proper contest. In Argentina, our rivals had problems just when our crews began to hit top form.
“In the end, we still haven't seen a genuine scrap on a level playing field. I think that we undoubtedly have some stiff competition and I'm certain that we are going to see some very hotly contested rallies in the next few rounds. Although we have established a lead in terms of points, this championship is far from over!”
Matton also defended the decision taken in Argentina to tell Loeb and team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to hold position and not fight each other for victory.
“This kind of decision is never easy to take, but we had to take action to ensure that we achieved the goals that we had set for ourselves, namely to keep the Drivers' and Manufacturers' World titles,” he said. “After drawing a blank in Portugal, Rally Argentina worked out well for us. Given the lead that our crew had established and the difficulties that still lay ahead, the sensible choice was clearly to ask Seb and Mikko to hold position.
“Every member of the team, starting with the drivers, knows how important for Citroen to win this titles. Clearly, it may seem particularly tough on Mikko after the way Rally de Portugal ended, but I hope that we'll see him win his first rally with us in the very near future.”
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