January 22, 2002
Controversial start to 2002 World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo
In an exciting and controversial start to the 2002 World Rally Championship season, Tommi Makinen claimed top manufacturers’ points in his first-ever race in a Subaru Impreza WRX. Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb is the provisional winning driver of the event, although that result may be overturned.
Citroen received a time penalty for an improper tire change, which the manufacturer has challenged. If the penalty is upheld, Subaru’s Makinen will move from second into first place, winning his fourth consecutive Monte Carlo Rally and a record-setting 24th WRC event. Citroen, not yet fielding a full WRC program, was not eligible for manufacturers’ points.
“This is a fantastic victory for Subaru and an incredible result for Tommi on his debut with the team,” said 555 Subaru World Rally Team Principal, David Lapworth. “Sebastien drove extremely well this weekend but his team broke the rules and the Stewards imposed a penalty. Tommi had promised one of his ‘maximum attack’ drives this morning and was confident of achieving a clear victory, but when we learned of Loeb’s penalty he backed off with the intention of cruising to the win. We look forward to hearing the result of the appeal court as soon as possible.”
Petter Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills also set an impressive pace, winning five of the event’s 14 stages and finishing sixth to score two manufacturers ‘ points. Makinen and Solberg dominated the event in their Impreza WRXs. Combined, they won over half the event’s stages.
Next stop for the WRC is Sweden for the only true winter rally in the series, where low temperatures and snowy conditions demand a unique style of driving and make it the only major rally yet to be won by a non-Scandinavian driver. With Petter and Tommi on board for 2002, the 555 Subaru World Rally Team looks in an extremely strong position this year. The rally starts from the town of Karlstad on Friday, February 1.
FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers 2002 Standings – After Round One (Provisional):
FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers