WRC A FULL 2016
KRIS MEEKE AND CRAIG BREEN TO COMPETE AT TOUR DE CORSE.
7th September 2016
Kris Meeke and Craig Breen to compete at Tour de Corse.
Abu Dhabi Total WRT will enter two cars at the Tour de Corse, the French round of the World Rally Championship. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be tasked with keeping up the team’s run of good results, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will continue their recovery following their accident at Rallye Deutschland.
Having returned to the WRC calendar in 2015, the Tour de Corse remains one of the world’s most famous rallies! Held between 30 September and 2 October, the 59th edition looks set to be especially demanding, with 390.92km of timed stages taking in Ajaccio, Bastia and Porto-Vecchio. With the exception of the Power Stage, the stages are notable for their length, all lying between 30 and 50km.
Abu Dhabi Total WRT is entering two World Rally Cars for crews from the British Isles at this round: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin, the latter pair standing in for Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau, who were initially scheduled to compete in Corsica.
This will be Kris Meeke’s fourth appearance at the Tour de Corse. In 2005 and 2006, the Northern Irishman tackled the island’s narrow, twisty roads in a Citroën C2 Super 1600. Last year, he finished fourth in what proved to be a very demanding event, marked by torrential rain and the cancellation of some of the stages. Following their wins in Portugal and Finland, Kris and Paul return to tarmac, a surface on which they haven’t competed for almost a year.
Surprisingly, Craig Breen and Scott Martin are actually more experienced than their team-mates in Corsica. The Irish driver has competed at the Tour de Corse for the last four years. Sixth in 2012 in the IRC, Craig finished just shy of the podium places in the 2013 European Rally Championship round, before retiring in 2014 and finishing fourth in the WRC2 last year. After scoring a stunning third place in Finland, the young Irishman would love to show off his turn of speed and consistency at the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’!
Meanwhile, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will continue to rest and recuperate. Since going off the road at Rallye Deutschland, the talented young Frenchmen have made a rapid start to their recovery.
After spending time at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, Stéphane was allowed to return to his home in the north of France. “Going back home was a key step for me,” he explained. “I stopped using the crutches to walk very quickly and can now get around easily enough, even though I still have some pain in my ribs. To keep myself busy, I took out a cable TV subscription and I’ve been spending time on a driving simulator! When my lower back is strong enough again, I’ll be able to start working on specific physiotherapy sessions with Citroën Racing’s osteopath. I hope to be in Corsica just to observe the event. That will allow me to spend time with the team before considering when I’ll be back in action at a rally. The aim is to drive competitively again before the end of the season!”
Meanwhile, Gabin Moreau was transferred to Strasbourg hospital for a second operation on his tibia. In a few days’ time, he’ll be able to continue his recovery in a rehabilitation centre: “According to the doctors, my progress has been quick since the operation, which involved removing the pins that had been put in place in Germany. Obviously, I can’t put any weight on my foot as yet, but I have been able to begin moving around whilst taking the right precautions. As soon as I’m sufficiently independent again, I’ll be able to spend a few days at home. After that, I’ll continue my recovery in a specialist centre. The whole process will take several weeks, so it’ll probably take a bit longer than Stéphane but we are both determined to start working together again as soon as possible.”
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