WRC

Rally Catalunya: Citroen Leg two summary

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were forced to retire while in the lead, after setting the fastest time in SS7, " Les Llosses/Alpens ". Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti picked up the torch for Citroën, and are currently lying in third...

Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were forced to retire while in the lead, after setting the fastest time in SS7, " Les Llosses/Alpens ". Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti picked up the torch for Citroën, and are currently lying in third position.

Just as Sébastien Loeb had hoped, the roads were dry this morning when they went out to start the second leg with " Les Llosses/Alpens " (SS7), the same route as SS2 and 5 yesterday, but run in the other direction. The upcoming battle looked magnificent, and the World Champion started off in fine fashion, with a stage win strengthening his lead. However, what the screens were not showing was that there had been an incident. "It happened four or five kilometres from the finish, in a flat-out fifth-gear corner," a very disappointed Seb explained. "I was on the normal trajectory, cutting the corner. A large rock, most probably moved by a previous car, came under the sump protection of my Xsara…"

Despite the thickness of the protection provided, the oil sump had been damaged and a serious oil-leak had taken place. At the end of the stage, Seb and Daniel removed the protection and tried to stem the leak. However, before the start of SS8, they noticed that their temporary repairs would not allow them to cover the three remaining stages before the next service, making their retirement unavoidable…

Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti, the sole remaining defenders of the Double Chevron's colours, were on fine form this morning. Second-fastest in SS7 and 8, Carlos had closed up on Marcus Grönholm. The Citroën had the Finn within his sights, just 3.5 seconds ahead of him. After a reduction in the efficiency of the brakes of his car, Carlos bled the brakes himself during the RTFZ (Remote Tyre Fitting Zone) adjacent to the park. With SS10 cancelled (due to a massive influx of spectators), the brake problems were solved in the service park, and the fight with Marcus was able to restart, throughout the second loop, identical to the first.

Initially, the gap between the two men widened slightly, but Carlos, setting the best time during the 33km 'Sant Julia 2' stage, brought it back to 11.4 seconds. Everything is therefore still possible for the "matador", who is ready to climb onto the podium for the 96th time in his career…

" As far as Seb's retirement is concerned," Guy Fréquelin commented during the final service park of the day , "I am, of course, disappointed for both him and for the team. The sort of problem he had is frequent in rallying, and should not be something that takes anyone out of the rally. After examining the sump, supplied by a sub-contractor, we noticed that the welding was faulty, with some seams left undone. This is unacceptable ! Tomorrow, Carlos will fight until the end, like always. And we will all be behind him, so that he can get the best possible result in his home event…"

-citroen-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Marcus Gronholm , Sébastien Loeb , Guy Frequelin , Daniel Elena , Marc Marti
Teams Citroën World Rally Team