World Rally Championship: HOLY SAINZ - he's back!
May 17, 2005 Following a rift inside the Citroen Rally Team's second car in which co-driver Stephane Prevot refused to drive with the errant Francois Duval again after Duval failed to finish an event at the Cypress Rally last weekend, Citroen has managed to talk Carlos Sainz out of retirement. Sainz is the most successful rally driver of all time, and has put his retirement on hold to get back behind the wheel of the Citroen Xsara WRC in the next round of the World Rally Championship, the Rally of Turkey to be held June 3-5, 2005. Duval will be "rested" for the event as Citroen hopes to bring the superstar team together to wrest the constructors championship which has been slipping away despite the dominance of the team's number one driver Sebastien Loeb who has four wins out of six starts for the year. "The results of Citroen in the Manufacturers' Championship aren't matching our goals," says Guy Frequelin, Citroen Sport Team Director.
"To give ourselves more time to think about the strategy we will adopt for the rest of the season, and considering Carlos' record and his consistent performance during the past two years, I've asked him if he could drive for us in Turkey"
The Rally of Turkey joined the World Rally Championship in 2002, replacing the Safari Rally. In the event's debut at WRC level, Carlos Sainz took the top spot on the podium following a composed and skilled drive in an event of which that few teams had any knowledge. Last year Sébastien Loeb repeated this performance, providing Guy Fréquelin with the impetus to get Loeb and Sainz together again to put the Citroen bid to retain its manufacturers' title back on track.
Carlos Sainz, though, makes it clear that this is a one-off event and not his return to the World Rally Championship.
"It's been seven months since I last drove a Xsara WRC, but considering the current situation, I want to help Citroën if they judge it's necessary," he says. "It's clear that my participation is depending on extraordinary circumstances and doesn't mean I will come back to world rallying. With this temporary measure I hope to contribute to the team's success. After everything Citroen did for me in 2003, I want to return the favour and help get Citroen's campaign for the manufacturers' title back on track!"