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Stéphane Sarrazin is expecting serious competition ahead when the FIA European Rally Championship resumes on the legendary Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse from 16-18 May.

Le Mans 24 Hours racer Sarrazin has been given special permission by Toyota to contest the event in the same MINI John Cooper Works S2000 Dani Sordo used to win in Corsica last season. He will go up against fellow former Formula One racer Robert Kubica, who will line up in his regular Citroën DS3 RRC.

“I’m going for the win,” said Sarrazin. “I have been in Corsica with Subaru three times and finished eighth, sixth and fourth. Last year I drove a Peugeot 208 R2 zero car, which was a big help because I did the recce and pushed like I was doing the real rally. The MINI I have won the rally last year so I have no excuse although it will be difficult against drivers like Robert Kubica and Jan Kopecký. It will be a very good fight.”

Sarrazin, 37, tested his MINI, run by the Belgian First Motorsport team, in Corsica on Monday. He is one of 23 drivers in S2000 machinery on the island event, which runs from May 16-18 and includes four stages live on Eurosport. His advice to event rookies like Kubica is simply: “to avoid touching any concrete on the side of the road. It’s so narrow, with narrow bridges and it’s easy to touch a wheel, make a small mistake and have a very big effect. There are also some old roads that are very bumpy, it’s a very particular and difficult rally.”

DELECOUR DELIGHTED TO BE BACK IN THE ERC

François Delecour has revealed his delight after securing a late deal to contest round five of the FIA European Rally Championship this week.

Delecour feared he wouldn’t be able to tackle Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse, which he won back in 1993, only for an agreement to be reached to enable him to compete in a Munaretto Sport Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

“I’d resigned myself to not doing it, so I am so happy that it is happening for us now,” said Delecour. “We’ll go straight into the rally with no testing so that means that we’ve got a tough task ahead – I’ve no idea what the brakes and the tyres we’re going to be using are like – but of course we’ll just get on with it and try as hard as we can.”

“I really enjoy driving these stages: they are some of the most legendary roads in the world. One advantage that we do have is having done this rally last year with the Renault Mégane, so there are a few things that I remember. The most realistic approach for us is to build up our speed step by step and remain consistent; this will maximise our possibilities of a good result at the end.”
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