Thanks to his fourth win in five rounds, Quentin Gilbert now has an unassailable lead the FIA Junior WRC standings. Winner in Portugal, Germany and Finland, Quentin Gilbert finished ahead of Terry Folb and Yohan Rossel at the Tour de Corse. Next up is Rally de EspaÃ±a, the seasonâ€™s only mixed-surface event, held on 22-25 October.
On its return to the World Championship calendar, the FIA Junior WRC crews were treated to a Tour de Corse that epitomised the finest traditions of the island rally.
In spite of the appalling weather at the start of the rally, the competitors managed to complete seven of the nine stages scheduled, setting off from Ajaccio to Bastia, then onto Porto-Vecchio before arriving back in Ajaccio.
In near-apocalyptic conditions, Yohan Rossel claimed the early category lead by winning the opening 29 kilometre-long stage. The FFSA French Rally team driver finished ahead of Quentin Gilbert, Terry Folb, Pierre-Louis Loubet, Jordan Berfa and Jean-Philippe Martini.
Following the cancellation of SS2, Rossel confirmed his good start by claiming a second stage win to end day one in the lead, followed by Terry Folb and Quentin Gilbert. The Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby split the top-six French contingent in fourth, followed by Jean-Philippe Martini, Jordan Berfa, Federico Della Casa, Pierre-Louis Loubet, Charlotte Dalmasso, Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Jean-RenÃ© Perry, who picked up two punctures.
Saturdayâ€™s leg was cut short again by the Rally Organisers due to damage caused by the weather on SS4, but Quentin Gilbert won SS5, whilst Terry Folb grabbed the overall lead. At the half-way stage of the rally, just twelve seconds covered the top three of Folb, Gilbert and Rossel.
Determined to win in order to secure the title ahead of schedule, Quentin Gilbert was even quicker in the afternoon, and moved into the category lead ahead of Yohan Rossel, Terry Folb and Ole Christian Veiby. Caught out by the tricky Corsican roads, Federico Della Casa and Charlotte Dalmassoâ€™s races came to a premature end.
The long final leg between Porto-Vecchio and Ajaccio saw Quentin Gilbert press home his advantage. Having gone fastest again on the dayâ€™s opening two stages, he took a lead of over a minute into the final stage, which was won by Ole Christian Veiby.
Quentin Gilbert went on to win the rally ahead of Terry Folb, who grabbed the runner-up spot on the Power Stage, and Yohan Rossel. Ole Christian Veiby finished in fourth position ahead of Jean-RenÃ© Perry. Pierre-Louis Loubet, Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Jean-Philippe Martini all went off before the finish, while Jordan Berfa broke his gearbox in the closing stages.
At the end of this, the fifth round of the season, Quentin Gilbert has 106 points, which is 54 points more than his closest challenger, Ole Christian Veiby. With only two events left to go, the young Frenchman therefore holds an unassailable lead in the championship. He will therefore earn a WRC2 programme next year in a DS 3 R5.
Two rounds remain for the FIA Junior WRC before the end of the 2015 season: RallyRACC Catalunya â€“ Costa Daurada (22-25/10) and Wales Rally GB (12-15/11).
Marek Nawarecki (Customer Racing Manager at CitroÃ«n Racing): â€œThe many difficulties of the Tour de Corse have shown it deserves its place in the FIA Junior WRC calendar. The crews competing in their DS 3 R3-MAXs have been able to acquire some important experience on tarmac, which will undoubtedly serve them well in the future. Quentin Gilbert will be a worthy champion at the end of the season. He has shown he can win on surfaces and in conditions as varied as in Monte-Carlo, Portugal, Finland and here in Corsica. Weâ€™ll be very happy to support him next year with a World Championship programme in the DS 3 R5.â€
Quentin Gilbert: â€œIâ€™m very happy to win in Corsica and secure the title at the end of my home rally. We were fairly cautious at the start, because the conditions were really difficult. On dry roads, we were able to push more on Saturday afternoon. Today, we mainly had to manage our lead. Iâ€™m pleased to share this victory with my co-driver Renaud Jamoul and my team. We have had an incredible season and I canâ€™t wait for next year!â€
Terry Folb: â€œOn the final stage, we managed to grab second place. I am very happy about this result. I would like to thank my team, who have done a great job, and my co-driver Franck Le Floch, who has been perfect.â€
Yohan Rossel: â€œIâ€™m pleased to have made it to the end of this difficult rally. Obviously, I would have preferred to win this round of the FIA Junior WRC, but a podium is still a good result. Iâ€™m happy to share this with the FFSA and the entire team. Itâ€™s just a shame that we had brake problems on the final day.â€
* Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.