Skoda Motorsport Team driver Didier Auriol heads into the Tour de Corse knowing that he is the most successful driver in the event's WRC history.

The Frenchman has won this event a record six times and no other driver has had better success on a round of the World Rally Championship.

The rally is a favourite of Auriol for more than just his winning record.

He said: "My second win, in 1989, was the best of the six because my son Robin was born at the same time so it was a very special moment." Auriol's last win, in 1995, was also significant as it was the first time that he had been co-driven by Denis Giraudet.

"The stages in Corsica are quite similar to the roads near my home so maybe that's why I have been so successful in the past, but I've also been very lucky!" he said.

Toni Gardemeister is hoping that the weather stays dry this weekend. He said: "There is quite a lot of gravel on the stages that will become very muddy if it rains." This is Gardemeister's third start in Corsica and his third different car. "The Fabia is definitely the best of the three!" he added.

After this evening's ceremonial start in front of a traditionally large and enthusiastic crowd of spectators in the centre of Ajaccio, drivers unusually face the shortest leg of the event [just 95.30kms of stages] to begin the action tomorrow.

Gardemeister said today: "The first stage is the one test that is different in character to the rest of the rally as it is twisty and bumpy. The rest are quite good and, although there are many corners, they flow well."



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