Day 2: Citroen, Loeb and Sordo keep up their momentum The Citroen Total team completed the second day of the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, with its two cars still in first and second places overall.
Day 2: Citroen, Loeb and Sordo keep up their momentum
The Citroen Total team completed the second day of the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, with its two cars still in first and second places overall. Overnight leaders Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena increased their Citroen C4 WRC's advantage at the top of the leaderboard, while Dani Sordo and Marc Marti tucked in behind their team-mates with their C4 WRC.
Today's menu featured a loop of three stages to be contested twice each and the 116.96km of competitive action visited such classic tests as Saint Pierreville-Col de la Fayolle, Burzet and Saint Martial-Beleac. Despite the gathering clouds and talk of possible snow, the weather stayed clear all day, with sunshine even putting in an appearance to push up the thermometer in the course of the afternoon. Even so, the conditions remained delicate and the stages switched constantly from dry to damp and back again.
The morning's run saw both Citroen crews at the top of the timesheets again as they overcame the frequent changes of grip to post three further stage one-twos and pull further clear of their rivals. Meanwhile, the work put in on the cars by the French squad's technical staff ensured that their respective Citroen C4s made maximum use of the new Pirelli tyres. The defending World Champions coped with the day's challenge perfectly but built a small safety margin into their pace. Dani and Marc were quick, too, as they sought to increase the gap over their closest chasers. Rather than risk making a mistake, they drove cautiously over the trickier portions to increase Citroen's chances of a one-two.
To stay focused, Sebastien continued at the same pace during the afternoon and was rewarded with three further fastest times: "The day went well," reported the Alsace-born driver back at service in Valence. "We adopted a quick pace to try to increase our lead and I was pleased with the performance of our C4 WRC. Its set-up was well suited to the conditions. I also happy with the way our Pirelli tyres performed. They worked well in today's rather cold, damp conditions. We can't afford to drop our guard, however, because there are still two more difficult days to come."
"Our day can be divided into two parts," explained Dani. "Everything went well this morning but we had a technical problem on SS6 this afternoon and that affected the handling of my C4 from about halfway into the stage. We had to continue like that for the next two stages but we managed to hold on to second place, although the incident showed that this rally is far from over. Plenty can still happen before Sunday's finish."
"Both Citroen Sport crews came through today's stages in the Ardèche Mountains very well," observed Olivier Quesnel. "There were plenty of potential pitfalls, but Sebastien and Daniel superbly defended their lead and even managed to increase their cushion at the top. Dani and Marc also got off to a first class start but were then slowed by a minor technical problem. They succeeded in limiting the damage, however, and are still second this evening. Both our cars have been on the provisional podium since the start of the rally but we continue to be wary because there are still two long legs to come." Pirelli, Le Coq Sportif, Eurodatacar, Citroen Financement, Magneti-Marelli, Sabelt, Transalliance, OZ Racing and Meteo France Sports are the partners of Citroen Total WRT in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.