Sebastien Loeb again proved that even with last year's Citroen Xsara, he is the man to beat as he chases after a three-peat World Rally Championship title. In today's Rally Argentina, the Frenchman drove consistently to not only maintain his edge...
Sebastien Loeb again proved that even with last year's Citroen Xsara, he is the man to beat as he chases after a three-peat World Rally Championship title. In today's Rally Argentina, the Frenchman drove consistently to not only maintain his edge over Petter Solberg, but he increased it to nearly one minute by the mid-point.
"It wasn't an easy day, what with all the jumps and high-speed water splashes" commented the two-time WRC champion. "I've managed to build up a bit of lead and my aim is to keep it throughout tomorrow's short leg. There's a sting in the tail of this rally though: two very rough and narrow stages, where above all I've got to steer clear of trouble..."
Leg two's route in the sixth round of this year's competition across the Calamuchita valley in Argentina was long, eight stages covering 150 kilometres. And heavy rain in the morning added to the already bumpy roads.
Petter Solberg hopes that tomorrow the tide will turn, allowing him to place his Subaru Impreza on the top step of the podium. The Norwegian share the fast time with his brother Henning on the sixteenth stage, he followed up with the win on today's penultimate stage (SS17) but Solberg will need more than that to overtake the Kronos Racing Citroen tomorrow. And tyre choice will again play into the final outcome, along with having no mechanical issues.
"In fact it's been quite a good day, even though it didn't get off to a great start. First we made a bad tyre choice and that cost us a lot of time, and then I reckon we lost another six or seven seconds when the gear lever broke," stated Solberg.
"But this afternoon was actually good and overall I'm pretty happy - we won two stages and our pace is better than the people behind," he continued. "It was nice to share the stage win with Henning too - I don't think two brothers have ever done that before - I heard my mother and father were very happy! Tomorrow the stages are difficult, I know there are lot of bad rocks and anything can happen. The rally isn't over yet -- we all have to do those stages first."
... more to follow