The Tour de Corse – Rallye de France marks the start of the end-of-season run-in for Michaël Burri and the Renault Sport Rally Team. The crew had a fairly disappointing weekend at Rallye Deutschland, their first tarmac event of the year in the WRC 3. Fast forward five weeks and the Corsican event provides the Swiss driver with another chance to shine on his preferred surface. Although he has yet to compete at this event, he comes into the weekend with genuine hopes of a result.
"I’ve driven a lot in Switzerland, so I know what to expect on a mountain rally. I can’t wait to experience the challenge of competing at the Tour de Corse," explained Michaël Burri. "I know the grip will be very different ; the road surface is very rough and there are turns everywhere ! But we’ve done a lot of physical preparation work in order to be ready to contest the very long stages, during which there’ll be no respite."
First and foremost, the Swiss driver is keen to produce much better pace than at Rallye Deutschland. "After Germany, we – myself, Anderson and the entire team – all analysed what went wrong. We went over the issues together to try and find the right solutions, so that we can be in better shape psychologically and mechanically at the start in Ajaccio. We have the ideal package to do well in this category ; in Germany, the car was once again unfailingly reliable. We now need to start producing results in the Clio R3T."
Sylvain Alanore, Renault Sport Rally Team Manager, confirmed this determination to find extra speed in Corsica. And, to do that, improve the technical relationship between the driver and the team, in-between stages. "After Germany, we tried to be as relaxed as possible in our approach. We scheduled a development session with Michaël and this helped us to work pragmatically, away from the frantic pace of a racing weekend."
Following this development session, the aim is to be ready ahead of the Tour de Corse which, like Germany, has a long list of entrants. "We’ll be up against some very stiff competition so we’ll need to be on the pace very quickly. Renault Clio R3T was quick last year in Corsica and we hope that we can pick up where we left off. Michaël’s new experience in development work will help him to get to grips more effectively with this part of the job."
The Tour de Corse is set to get underway on Thursday, 29 September with the ceremonial start in Ajaccio, whilst the sole service park is located in Bastia, in the north-east of Corsica. On Friday, two stages will each be contested twice on the western side of the island, without service period ( just a mid-leg tyre change). Saturday features two loops of two timed stages, covering some 169 kilometres. There are only two stages on Sunday’s leg, but the opening test is almost 54 kilometres long.