Leg 2: The CitroÃ«n C4 WRCs in dominating form Thanks to a score of six one-two stage times from today's six stages, the CitroÃ«n C4 WRCs of SÃ©bastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc MartÃ continue to monopolise the top two positions at...
Leg 2: The Citroën C4 WRCs in dominating form
Thanks to a score of six one-two stage times from today's six stages, the Citroën C4 WRCs of Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí continue to monopolise the top two positions at the end of the second leg of the 2007 Monte Carlo Rally.
The day's menu of just over 150km of competitive action made it the longest leg of the season's curtain-raiser and a busy day that took notably in a few of the classic Ardèche stages that have helped forge the legend of the Monte Carlo.
The Citroën Sport crews barely had time to digest the previous evening's appetizer than it was already time for them to start a hearty breakfast in the form of the morning's 46km Saint Pierreville-Antraigues stage which featured three mountain passes to cross and an awesome long downhill section. The two C4 WRC drivers opted for hard tyres but their choice wasn't ideally suited to the damp conditions. "The stage was damper than anticipated," explained Guy Fréquelin. "Dani and Sébastien would have been better off with a slightly softer compound. Even so, they didn't take too many risks and coped well with what was a pretty complex situation." The two C4 drivers effectively kicked off Leg 2 just as they started the weekend: with the fastest and second fastest times, this time with Dani in front. And that was just for starters...
The next two stages Burzet and St. Martial provided them with a further opportunity to shine. Seb claimed SS4 with Dani finishing in his wake, while Dani was first past the post ahead of Seb again on SS5. "This morning, I drove like I did last year with the Xsara, except that I have since improved and the C4 WRC is an even faster car," explained the 2005 Junior World Champion.
"The conditions in today's first stage were difficult, so I didn't want to push too hard because I didn't want to make any mistakes," added Sébastien back at the lunchtime service break. "Stages 4 and 5 went well, although I dropped a few seconds when I stalled at the start of SS5."
In practically spring-like weather, the afternoon's loop was a repeat of the morning's run watched by thousands of enthusiastic spectators who turned out in huge numbers. The BFGoodrich tyre package nominated by both Citroën Sport's crews for the Monte Carlo proved perfectly suited to the situation and once again enabled the two C4 WRC crews to figure at the top of the timesheets displayed at the Stop Control after the longest stage of the rally. Seb's fourth best time of the event enabled him to pull more than a minute clear of his main threat Marcus Grönholm (3rd).
"Despite a few patches of gravel, it was less hazardous than this morning's first pass because the stage was entirely dry. We were able to push hard, but we still kept it safe," related the three-time World Champion.
"Marc and I had a trouble-free run," commented Dani. "I am keeping an eye on the times of those behind us with a view to consolidating my 2nd place which is important for Citroën Sport."
To round off the day in style, the C4 WRC pair posted two more one-twos on SS7 and SS8 to further strengthen their domination at the top of the overnight leaderboard.
Since the start, the assertive performance and eloquent stage times of the C4 WRC, which was competing on only its second day today, prompted a positive reaction from Guy Fréquelin: "How could I not be pleased? Today we have seen the confirmation of both the C4 WRC's potential and our two drivers in different conditions and on different types of stages compared with those of yesterday. Dani and Seb are delighted with the handling of their cars. Even so, we still need to be cautious because there is a long way to go before we get to Monaco. This year's Monte Carlo, which I am pleased to say has confirmed the public's passion for rallying, is far from over."