WRC » 2 March 2003
Sainz takes 25th WRC win in Turkey.
Sainz said: ''Of course I am happy to have won here, but I am also very happy for the team. It is a fantastic result to give Citroen its first win on gravel.''
McRae noted: ''We couldn't afford to back off today. It would have been nice to have caught Duval, but at the same time we had to make sure that we didn't let Gilles past. It would only have taken a half-spin or something for that to happen. Again today some of the stages have been rough, maybe a bit too rough - this is supposed to be a sprint event. I'm happy for the team, though, we've shown what we can do on this type of rally.''
At Peugeot the 206 WRCs of Burns and Marcus Gronholm ran reliably throughout the final leg. Harri Rovanpera retired on the final stage yesterday with suspension damage.
Burns held on to his runners-up spot. He took time out of the leader on every stage today, reducing the deficit by 32.4 seconds. While it wasn't enough to pass Sainz, it was enough to make his second place comfortable from Duval.
Gronholm spent another day running first on the road following his power steering problems of the opening day. The team's decision for him to remain in the running was justified when the Finn collected a single manufacturer's point.
''I pushed hard on the second stage of this morning's loop of stages, that was the plan. I wanted to try and pull out more of a lead on Francois Duval,'' commented Burns. ''We did that and set fastest time. After that it was okay, we drove for the finish without any problems. It's great to be leading the championship again, but at the same time we have to remember that this means we will be running first on the road in New Zealand - that might not be ideal if it stays dry.''
Gronholm admitted: ''The team was right for us to carry on, but it has been hard to keep the motivation up. Now I'm looking forward to New Zealand and not running first on the road for the opening day.''
The Ford Focus RS WRCs of Francois Duval and Markko Martin ran without any problems today.
Duval started and finished the day in the same position. The Belgian said he was pushing quite hard in the faster stages to make sure he could maintain the gap between himself and McRae. Martin moved ahead of Skoda's Toni Gardemeister to take sixth place, which he held until the finish, after a problem-free day on the event.
Duval said: ''It is a great feeling to make the podium for the first time. Malcolm [Wilson, team director], told me the way he wanted me to drive and I did that. The stages have been okay, the car seemed to suit the twistier ones, but I preferred the faster ones.''
Martin continued: ''I am happy that we managed to recover and get some points for the team, from that perspective this is a good result, but it is such a shame that we lost the time on the first day. It's a little bit depressing that we were able to run so well after the problem, depressing because you can just imagine the result we could have had without the problem.''
The third Ford driven by Mikko Hirvonen retired with damaged suspension on SS4.
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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