1 mai 2011

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère make a victorious comeback!

Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère made a stunning return to racing. The Citroën Xsara crew topped the time sheets in the six stages in the first leg of the Auxerre Gravel Rally, and went on to win the event for the third time.  In addition to this result, the driver from Martinique really enjoyed himself at the wheel of the car entrusted to him by Petter Solberg Engineering.

 

Despite not having raced for two-and-a-half years, Simon Jean-Joseph was the favourite for the second round of the French Gravel Rally Championship. The double European champion had the number 1, but he played down his chances the day before the start: “The messages of sympathy that followed the announcement of our participation in this rally really touched me to the core. I don’t consider myself as favourite as I’m taking on drivers who’ve honed their skills on gravel, and who have very good cars. I know I can count on the qualities of Petter Solberg’s team’s Xsara WRC , but I’ve got no idea yet of my own level of performance.”

Jean-Joseph had his fears put to rest in the very first stage in which he set the quickest time. The other five stages confirmed that the man from Martinique was back in the groove, and he finished the first day with more than two minutes in hand over his pursuers. “It feels so good to be back in a racing car with a nice team and friends around us,” exclaimed Jean-Joseph. “The stages are fantastic and I’m really enjoying myself in the Xsara. Shooting down little gravel roads flat out in sixth is a thrilling sensation. I’m trying to stay concentrated so as not to make mistakes.”

The second leg of the Auxerre Gravel Rally was much shorter than the first, and was also very different from the previous day. “The routes are covered with grass, which makes grip very precarious,” said Boyère after the only reconnaissance. “These stages are also very bumpy, and I think the conditions will make things very difficult for my sight,” added Simon.

The outcome of the rally was almost turned on its head in the second-last stage when Jean-Joseph punctured soon after the start, but he lost only twenty seconds. He opted for caution in the final stage and went on to score his first outright victory since 2005, which brought a huge smile to his face. “You don’t need a lot in life to enjoy small pleasures,” he quipped at the end of the last stage. “I’m delighted with the welcome I’ve received, with the quality of the stages in this rally, and the sensations that I re-experienced with Jack in the two days’ racing. The second leg was more difficult than the first, and there were quite a few sectors where I didn’t feel as much at home as the day before. It’s proof that things will never be the same again. My sight isn’t as sharp as it used to be and I have to accept that it costs me a few seconds.”

The double European Champion was given a warm welcome by his team when he returned to the service park, and he thanked all the members of Petter Solberg Engineering one by one: “I’m very happy to have shared this event with guys who are as enthusiastic as they are professional. All of them have at least fifteen years’ experience in motor sport, and I was able to count on a Xsara WRC that was fine-tuned to perfection. I’m also delighted to have scored Kumho tyres’ first victory in the French Championship.”

Throughout the weekend the question on everybody’s lips was what would be the next step after this outing. Jean-Joseph’s answer is one that will delight all his fans: “It doesn’t take long for the taste to come back. We enjoyed ourselves so much this weekend that all we want to do is to continue. We’ll see how the situation evolves, but I’d really like to race in other events in this championship – and why not the Langres gravel rally?”

4 Responses to “Simon Jean-Joseph and Jack Boyère make a victorious comeback!”

  1. tjs au top niveau …ça ne m’étonnes pas!! merde pour la suite

  2. félicitation 1 retour fracassent

  3. JOBY JANNAS dit :

    CHAMPION TU ES……..CHAMPION TU RESTERAS !!!!!!! a suivre. tchimbe raid boug moin……….LA MARTINIQUE T’ EMBRASSE…….

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