Stéphane Consani so close to a win!

Stéphane Consani so close to a win!

25.06.2013: On their first participation in the Citroen Top Driver programme, Stéphane Consani and



On their first participation in the Citroen Top Driver programme, Stéphane Consani and Maxime Vilmot were not able to claim the result they richly deserved. They led right up until the final stage, before reliability got in the way
 

Knowing just what a marathon World Rally Championship events can be, the young Equipe de France FFSA driver decided to take a sensible approach to this extremely rough event in Sardinia. He set third-fastest time both on SS1 and SS2 to move up to second overall after various drivers hit problems, more than 48 seconds behind German driver Christian Riedemann.


From SS4 onwards, Stéphane embarked on a brilliant fightback, which was interrupted by some technical problems on his car. This meant that he headed into the final night stage of the day with just a reasonable 10-second deficit. Despite losing his power steering and getting caught up in the dust of a competitor who had been delayed, the up-and-coming Frenchman took the lead ahead of Riedemann, who had also been held up on the stage.
 

With a 16-second advantage, Stephane continued at a solid pace the next day while keeping an eye open for the many hazards that the rally presented. As a result, his lead consistently increased.


A slow puncture meant that he was forced to change a wheel on a road section, which led to 10 seconds of road penalties for the French crew. REBELOTTE on the following stage, one kilometre from the finish, and 10 seconds penalty for late arrival! He lost the championship lead right up until SS13, when he wiped out the penalties.


On SS15 he set a very good second-fastest time, which put him on course for victory with a lead of more than 14 seconds over his German rival but at the end of the stage the car stopped and seemed not to want to get going again. An agonizing 35 minutes later, having spoken with the team on the telephone, Stéphane set off to start the last stage, having incurred a further 1m50s of road penalties.


He had by now lost the lead and was instead second. Starting the final stage, the car failed again. Maxime opened the opened the bonnet on the start line. The whole stage was stop and start for the desperate crew, but Stephane still managed to salvage a podium place.


Later though, the event stewards decided to hit them with a 14-minute penalty for having worked on the car in the start zone of the final stage. It was another bitter blow for Stephane, who was demoted to sixth place.
 

Stéphane said:
“I’m obviously really disappointed because victory was within our grasp. We had a good rhythm, steered clear of mistakes and drove as quickly as we could to overhaul Riedemann again, despite the two 10-second penalties. But we have to be proud of our performance on this rally, we were really right up there!”
 

Julien Nicolas, Anthony Peacock, also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/-sardini-stephane-consani-close-win-citroen-top-driver-programme---112791.html

25.06.2013 / MaP

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