The CitroŽn Racing Trophy shines under the sun of Antibes!
The CITROňN RACING TROPHY round on the 44th Antibes Rally enjoyed resounding success. The 19 competing crews, who came to the rally from the different Trophy series run all over Europe, put on a spectacular and dramatic show. Thanks to their customary performance and reliability, the CitroŽn C2-R2 MAXs obtained excellent overall results. Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul won Group R and finished fourth overall. They were classified in front of Benjamin Perrin/Quentin Perrin and Florentin Bosch/Romain Tempier.

After uncertain weather during the night, the second day of the 44th Antibes Rally got underway this morning with bright sunshine. Just over 88 competitive kilometres were on the menu, split over six stages around the Col du Turini. A snowfall at the top of the mountain briefly threatened to cancel a part of the dayís itinerary, but in the end all the competitors Ė including the 18 CitroŽn Racing Trophy crews Ė were able to drive the entire route.

Marc Amourette et Gwťnola Marie started the second day perfectly at the wheel of their CitroŽn C2 Super 1600, setting fourth fastest time on a Col du Turini stage that was made very slippery by some traces of ice and snow. ďIt was my first time on this event,Ē said Amourette, who also runs his own team. ďWe enjoyed a perfect rally Ė right up to the point where we went off the road on the penultimate stage.Ē Irish driver Andrew Bushes was also contesting the Antibes Rally for the first time at the wheel of a C2 Super 1600 and had a good learning experience over the weekend, enjoying himself while constantly improving his performances.

From the off, the Group R battle was between Bryan Bouffier and Thierry Neuville, who fought just behind the top five. Bouffier pulled out a 51.9-second advantage over his rival but the Frenchman was caught out by some snow on the Col de Turini (SS12) and retired after a small impact. Neuville went on to win Group R with a fine fourth place overall. ďI only knew of this rally by reputation and it certainly lives up to that!Ē said Neuville, who is supported by the Belgian Motorsport Federation (RACB). ďWhat fantastic stages! We tried to follow Bryanís pace but I didnít have enough experience to make the most of the CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX. After his retirement we kept going at a good pace in order to stay concentrated. Winning the CitroŽn Racing Trophy at Antibes is a source of huge satisfaction for us.Ē

The Italian driver Massimo Cesa, aged 27, was little known before the start of the event Ė his first rally outside Italy Ė but made a big impression on the opening day where he was classified third in Group R overnight.

Adapting himself perfectly to the slippery conditions of day two, the Belluno driver set an excellent third-fastest time on Turini and then inherited second in Group R after Bouffier went off. However, Cesa was also caught out by a slippery section of road on SS11.

Benjamin and Quentin Perrin were delighted with their performance after finishing on the second step of the Group R podium. Benjamin said: ďFaced with the best drivers from each Trophy I felt quite intimidated at the start. But then things began to gradually feel more comfortable. Today we kept going at the same pace and so Iím absolutely delighted by this podium.Ē

The majority of the CitroŽn Racing Trophy drivers left the south of France with several reasons to be satisfied. Florentin Bosch (aged 20) and Romain Tempier astonished onlookers with their maturity by continually making progress. They ended the rally with third place in Group R and ninth overall. Returning to competition after a

Despite going off the road and picking up a puncture yesterday, as well as another off-road excursion on Turini today, Pascal Mackerer did not give up and collected a well-deserved seventh place in Group R.

The characteristics of the Antibes Rally initially slightly destabilised the three foreign crews that had come to the event. Martin McCormack progressively found a good rhythm and finished ninth in Group R. Jason Pritchard and Adrian McElhinney were instead concentrating on gaining experience over the weekend.

Simon Jean-Joseph, who is in charge of CitroŽn Racingís customer competition department, concluded: ďThe CitroŽn Racing Trophyís visit to the Antibes Rally, celebrating the first year of its existence, has proved to be a success at every level. Weíve managed to attract crews from all over Europe, who took the start with huge enthusiasm. There has been a fantastic spirit of competition between all the teams from the very start of the rally. I think our competitors enjoyed getting to know these legendary roads and they were also able to benefit from CitroŽn Racingís support on the event. From a sporting point of view, we can draw an extremely positive conclusion. Our cars were consistently amongst the frontrunners, demonstrating exemplary reliability. Finally, the stages times that were set Ė particularly in the slippery conditions of this morning Ė highlight once more the potential of the C2-R2 MAX and how easy it is to drive.Ē

Provisional final classification: 44th Rallye díAntibes CŰte d'Azur
1. Basso-Dotta Fiat Punto Super 2000 2h45min35s7
2. Solowow-Baran Peugeot 207 Super 2000 + 3min00s1
3. Maurin-Thimonier Skoda Fabia Super 2000 + 6min55s8
4. Neuville-Gilsoul CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 10min47s2
5. Perrin-Perrin CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 13min43s8
6. Lions-Veillas Mitsubishi Lancer + 13min47s6
7. Escharavil-Salva Renault Clio S1600 + 14min30s3
8. Bosch-Tempier CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 16min10s5
9. Canella-Gria Renault Clio R3 + 16min29s8
10. Biasion-Descamps CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 17min53s1
11. Barbero-Barbero Renault Clio R3 + 19min03s1
12. Mackerer-Risser CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 21min03s7
13. Quinsac-Duchemin CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 21min58s4
14. McCormack-Roberts CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 22min28s
15. Abelli-Klinger CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 22min35s4
16. Lafont-Lafont CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 23min17s5
18. Pritchard-Garrod CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 24min41s8
19. Chmielewski-Pleskot CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 27min00s7
20. Bushe-Myland CitroŽn C2 Super 1600 + 28min40s6
21. Elhinney-Buckley CitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 28min46s2
27. Montagna-Montagna CiitroŽn C2-R2 MAX + 36min42s3

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