Mon 10 Jun 2024

Rossel: Confidence levels are ‘crazy’

Current WRC2 championship leader Yohan Rossel spent Saturday in Sardinia demonstrating why he might just be the world’s most in-form rally driver. The numbers show why.

After suffering from a puncture on the opening day on SS3, the Frenchman found himself 15th in the WRC2 standings and more than two minutes behind rally leader Sami Pajari going into day two of the Mediterranean-based event. 


However, a mind-blowing show of pace in his Pirelli-shod Citroën C3 Rally2 saw the DG Sport Compétition pilot catapult himself up the standings to be sitting in second by the end of the penultimate day, 12.0sec clear of Vodafone Rally de Portugal winner Jan Solans.


He and new co-driver Benjamin Boulloud secured a stage win on every single stage on Saturday, winning every one of the eight tests by at least eight seconds.


“The best days are when you are leading but Saturday was my most memorable day on gravel. The confidence inside the car was amazing and I was pushing to the limit,” Rossel recalled.

It was too late to challenge an omnipotent Sami Pajari, but Rossel was able to hold off Solans’ assault on second place on Sunday, eventually coming out on top, securing the stage win on SS14 and finishing 7.0sec ahead of the Spaniard, who grabbed a hat-trick of stage wins on the final day to set up a nervy finish.


The 29-year-old was understandably overjoyed with the result and the pace shown and heaped praise on his team, who he has previously described at stage ends as ‘like a family’ to him.


“It was an amazing sensation in the car, the confidence was crazy and the team worked so good” 


“For sure, Solans was very fast today [Sunday]. On the loose surface I am a bit less confident in the car, but I kept the second position and I think it’s a better result than I expected.”

As much as Rossel’s pace comes down to his own skill and the speed of his recently upgraded Citroën, the Frenchman also spoke on the importance of concentration on the rough gravel surfaces of Sardinia, particularly on Sunday when Solans had him in his targets. 


“After the first stage [on Sunday], maybe I was sleeping a bit, but I know the [Sassari-Argentiera] stage and it’s never easy – a lot of loose sections and we know because Séb Ogier lost the [overall] rally in the last kilometres.


“You need to keep the concentration all the time, but when you fight like that, I think it’s better because you are pushing to the limit and you don’t think about 10 or 15 seconds.”

Thanks to his second-place finish, Rossel now sits top of the tree in WRC2. There will be no premature celebrations in the DG Sport Compétition pilot’s camp however, with much of the season still to play for and plenty of other drivers around him awaiting point-scoring events. 


“It’s not easy to say the championship is done because we have a lot of drivers who are not doing the same rallies as me. 


“We have good speed on every surface this year and the plan is to win more rallies on gravel now.”


With a win in Monte Carlo under his belt and two more podiums since, Rossel will be looking for a huge effort on his remaining WRC2 events to set himself in good stead against the likes of team-mate Nikolay Gryazin, Pajari, Solans, Oliver Solberg, Gus Greensmith and compatriot Pierre-Louis Loubet, all of whom have a handful of point-scoring events left to run.


“On every event this year I have been playing for the win and I have had the speed to win, but it’s never easy because the rallies are still so long. To finish second after a big issue on the first day is a very big result for me.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM