A one-two finish for Citroen, Loeb and Sordo The end of the third and last day of the inaugural Rally Ireland saw Citroen Sport claim an emphatic one-two, with Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena steering their C4 WRC to victory on the Emerald Isle...
A one-two finish for Citroen, Loeb and Sordo
The end of the third and last day of the inaugural Rally Ireland saw Citroen Sport claim an emphatic one-two, with Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena steering their C4 WRC to victory on the Emerald Isle ahead of the similar car of team-mates Dani Sordo/Marc Marti.
The 55.91km of stages on the menu of the final leg of the season's 15th and penultimate round featured similar, damp, greasy roads to those visited since the beginning of the weekend. The day also offered further typical local weather with early showers making way for a few rays of sunshine later on.
Sitting round a table at breakfast, the Citroen Sport drivers and co-drivers agreed that today's stages promised to be as tricky as any they had contested since Friday's start and concurred that they called for just as much caution.
They went on to put their reasoning into practice and kept up a quick but safe pace all the way to the flag. "I am over the moon with today's one-two," beamed Guy Frequelin. "When preparing for this event, we realised it had all the makings of being a tough one. Nobody had seen anything like the Irish stages before but we succeeded in adapting and finding the solutions required for a good run over these highly specific, narrow, fast and bumpy roads. And if their profile didn't make them demanding enough, the wet weather resulted in running water, mud being dragged onto the surface and even fog. It was a huge challenge but everyone at Citroen Sport came through it with flying colours."
"Sebastien and Daniel's victory puts them in a favourable position," continued the boss of the French team. "To sew up the title, Seb and Daniel now only need to score four points if Marcus Gronholm wins in Wales; that's equivalent to fifth place. I also want to congratulate Dani and Marc on their remarkable performance this weekend. Our third one-two of the year on asphalt speaks volumes for the C4 WRC's potential. We have succeeded in winning every one of this year's sealed surface events in conditions ranging from dry and smooth to muddy and bumpy. "
Sebastien and Daniel were equally very pleased to have notched up their eighth success of the year and their 36th world class win. "We had an early scare with a damper on the run-out to SS2, so the start of the rally was quite stressful," related Seb. "However, we soon found ourselves in a strong position to win and consequently boost our chances in the fight for the Drivers' title. It was an opportunity we couldn't afford to let pass by. The biggest challenge over these very difficult stages was finding a pace that enabled us to stay in control while at the same time making the most of the speed of our C4 WRC. It wasn't easy and I am so happy to have won here in Sligo today."
Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were also upbeat at the end of the weekend after finishing in second place in Ireland: "It was more of a mud rally than an asphalt event," quipped the young Spaniard. "There were so many potential pitfalls and it was by no means simple. Our C4 went extremely well in the conditions, though, and enabled us to secure our fourth consecutive podium finish."