Night of Turini
|Monte Carlo Rally 2002|
Finally a works 206 finishes this rally - basically their home rally because it is held from the beginning to the end on French roads and one of its drivers is from this area (Menton) - Grönholm finishes in 5th, Panizzi in 7th and newly recruited Burns in 8th. Admittedly it is not yet a breathtaking result but it is better than the catastrophic previous years.
But fortunately for PSA honor, there was Citroen which began its year (7 rallies this year in preparation of a complete season in 2003) with a very beautiful, although unfortunate, demonstration. Of course, Radstrom and Bugalski both retired, but what mattered was that the third pilot Sebastien Loeb was undoubtedly the best in the 2002 season opener. He was the best, yes, and he certainly would have won if it wasn't for a mistake of the mechanics at the end of leg 2. At the end of the second leg the pilots return to the park for a short 10 minute service to clean up the cars before going up on the podium for the end-of-day presentation to the spectators. During this assistance any repair was prohibited on the cars but the men of Citroen changed the 4 tires. Loeb got 2 minutes penalty retrogressing him to 2nd place at the end of the rally, and leaving Mäkinen to take his fourth consecutive win on this event.
However, although Loeb was the best on the road and Mäkinen obtained his victory over the green carpet, it would be wrong to deny Mäkinen the victory. Indeed, the winner ran here for the first time at the wheel of a Subaru: a new car, new team, new tires and especially a co-driver (Lindstrom) with whom Mäkinen had only previously competed the Rally of Great Britain. Also let us recall that while Loeb signed 5 scratches, Mäkinen signed 3 and when he was not first, he signed 5 2nd times versus only 2 for the Frenchman.
In the end
Mäkinen wins by 1'14 in front of Loeb and 1'15 in front of Sainz.