The FIA World Rally Championship’s break is now over and the second half of the season kicks off in Trier, the oldest city in Germany. For the second part of the year, the calendar will lead the competitors to the respective ‘gardens’ of Sébastien Loeb and Marcus Grönholm. The first ‘round’ will take place in ‘Deutschland’ where Seb counts four wins in four participations, and the second round will happen in Finland a week later…
For Kronos Racing, this event represents the year’s shortest journey. The lories transporting the three Citroëns have less than three hundred kilometres to cover between Naninne and the single service park of Bostalsee. As usual, the two 2006 passive differentials Xsaras are those entitled to score ‘Manufacturers’ points, while the third one keeps its 2005 specifications. The news on this event come from the fact team-mates Dani Sordo/Marc Marti and Xevi Pons/Carlos Del Barrio have swapped roles in the Manufacturers points’ quest: Dani and Marc inherit the number 2 Xsara while Xevi and Carlos now play the role of the free–riders…
The ‘Deutschland’ celebrates this year its fifth anniversary in the world class and now has became one of the calendar’s classics with its own specificities. Situated within striking distance of five countries, it stands out as the most European of all the current rallies, and visitors from Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France, as well as German fans make this an extremely popular event for the spectators: as for the previous years, the organisers are expecting over 200.000 of them.
The rally route features three distinct terrains. One in the vineyards overlooking the Mosel Valley with narrow and fast roads twisting from a tight corner to the next, a second one in the Baumholder military camp on tank tracks with changing road surface, and a last one in Saarland with smooth and fast asphalt.
The final ‘Deutschland’ flavour is given with the varied weather conditions. The summer heat generates frequent storms, while the presence of the Eifel and Hunsrück highlands forms a real ‘highway’ to speed up weather systems. Rain can effectively move in with very short notice making tyre choices even more delicate, considering they should be done in some cases up to three hours before the start of the final stage of a loop.
Citroën Sport’s development team has fine-tuned the Xsara’s set-up for Germany as carefully as usual : Sébastien and Dani Sordo alternated behind the wheel, testing at the same time the tyre solutions of BFGoodrich, historical partner of the Chevrons brand. The rally history will also remember that for the 29-wins-and-three-world-crown-car, Germany was the very last tarmac test session.
Some more facts: Sébastien and Daniel will take their 21st and last start on tarmac with the Xsara WRC, exactly where they clinched their first world victory. They have won twelve of the twenty rallies competed on tarmac with their ‘old good Xsara’. Let’s bet that if they can succeed once more in Trier, as they furiously wish to, very superstitious Daniel Elena might exceptionally speak about the number 13!
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