Provera hits back at doubters

Peugeot Sport chief Corrado Provera has struck back at pundits who have suggested that his 206 WRC is past its sell-by date in the WRC, and says that victory in the last round in Spain has proved it can cut the mustard in this weekend's Wales Rally GB

Provera hits back at doubters

Provera did admit, however, that that set-up problems have caused some of his drivers trouble this year, but believes his car is still capable of winning this weekend's finale in Wales - if not the title due to Richard Burns' illness.

"As far as the car is concerned, we effectively heard some remarks that we didn't share," said Provera. "But it is only with facts that we ever going to be able to show that those comments were unfounded. OK, set-up troubles have occasionally had an adverse influence on the balance of the car, which has in turn unsettled our drivers and affected their performance at times. When you're forced to keep fine-tuning the specification of your car to ward off the increasingly pressing competition, you can sometimes end up running less effective solutions.

"For some time now, we haven't been troubled by technical problems, but our drivers have sometimes been a little febrile [feverish] or mentally fragile, albeit with attenuating circumstances since we were going through a difficult spell, at a time when our rivals were very strong. But the 206 WRC is still in there, and Gilles Panizzi finally proved that in Spain."

Peugeot loses Panizzi to Mitsubishi next year, while Richard Burns also leaves the marque to join Subaru. Provera feels that the combination of multiple champion Marcus Gronholm and newcomer Freddy Loix will be the perfect blend when it introduces the stunning new 307 WRC on the Monte Carlo Rally next year.

"Gilles has occasionally given us cause to grumble, but that has been significantly outweighed by the joy he has brought us," said Provera. "By winning in Spain, he gave us a superb leaving gift. He also showed that he is still the tarmac master, at the wheel of a fantastic machine.

"But Marcus Gronholm has also put in some outstanding performances on asphalt and, as for Freddy Loix who joins us, we have total confidence in his ability. Finally, although it's still a little early to provide concrete evidence, we are actively working on ensuring that the 307 WRC is a perfectly worthy successor to the 206 WRC."

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