For his first major event at the wheel of the Peugeot 207 S2000 Matthew didn’t miss the chance to show his full potential. It’s only Tuesday morning that the crew could meet his new car. “SaintEloc Racing Team has done a great job for us to be at the start. But if I only could do 70km with the car I was able to know its enormous potential. Certainly I have a lack of experience in S2000 but I feel very good in the car. I will do my best from the first meters to optimize my progress. “
A special feature of Monte Carlo is to be a real headache for tires choice. The first stage along nearly 37 kilometers takes place under conditions of dry roads while the second 30 kilometers long has more than one third of snow and ice. Impossible to get be the right choice it is always a compromise. Started with “soft” compound for the first stage Mathieu impresses all followers with the 10th fastest time in the middle of WRC cars. He is also second in S2000 only 2 seconds behind the last winner of the Monte Carlo Bryan Bouffier and 7 seconds in front of Sébastien Ogier.
“I’m the first to be surprised with my time because I am not using my 207 to 100% capacity. At the end of the stage I felt that my tires overheated so I dropped the pace. In any case I have a lot of fun at the wheel. Now we have to face snow and ice with only two studded tires. It will be a first for me but my Peugeot is well balanced so I’m not too worried. I have to be careful. ” At the stop point of stage 2 ,” Le Burzet “, it’s the surprise. The SaintEloc Racing’s driver gets the 6th absolute time in the stage and 8th overall. “Crossing the finish we were very happy with my codriver. It was already a victory to reach the finish line without mistake. But to be honest it’s a great pleasure to make a 6th fastest time in the middle of best WRC drivers! “
Back to service park in Valence tire’s choice always looks so difficult. Snow and ice are still present in the stage 2 so Mathieu decides to continue with the same tires choice. Unfortunately a puncture slows the strong growth of Matthew. “In fact 7 km from the finish I had a puncture on the rear left. I don’t know what I hit. But I think it was a stone output by Kosciuszko who had a puncture in front of me. I lose about 50 seconds. It’s a shame because on the split time 10km before the finish I was only 3 seconds behind Ogier and 4 seconds in front of Bouffier. But it’s not a big problem because Monte Carlo is a really long event. A lot of things could happen!” And Mathieu didn’t know he was right. In the next stage, after 11kilometers the Peugeot 207 S2000 slide out of the “track” of snow and hit a rock at a slow pace. Impossible to restart because of a broken rim which immobilizes the car on the road.
For Mathieu it’s a huge disappointment. “I am so disappointed! I was at no more than 40km/h when I get understeering. I went out of “track” on the ice and with my “slicks” tires on the back I could not do anything. I was passenger of the car. When the mechanics arrived they released the rim, replaced with a new rod that was in the trunk and the car ran perfectly straight. It’s really annoying but this is the Monte Carlo. ” The disappointment digested Mathieu looks to the future. “I think my times have not gone unnoticed even if to win you must be at the finish. I hope to be back in the 207 S2000 as soon as possible. I think I can do good performances. If possible in IRC or WRC again. We’ll have to work hard but I believe in my chance! “
Following events should be announced in the coming weeks.
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