Citroen C4s in close formation in Turkey The eighth round of the 2008 WRC World Championship, the Rally of Turkey, came to its conclusion today. At the end of this hot Sunday, Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena brought their Citroen home to finish on...
Citroen C4s in close formation in Turkey
The eighth round of the 2008 WRC World Championship, the Rally of Turkey, came to its conclusion today. At the end of this hot Sunday, Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena brought their Citroen home to finish on the third step of the podium. Team-mates Dani Sordo / Marc Marti finished the punishing event in their wake in 4th place.
The last leg was shortened to just 67.56km of against-the-clock action. The two runs through the Olympos stage, 31.03km, of which the first 7km seven were new, served as the event's sting in the tail, while the Çamyuva test run in reverse during the shakedown had the makings of throwing up some surprises, despite only being short (5.5km).
Before starting the final day, the expressions and gestures betrayed the level of tension amongst the Citroen crews: Seb and Daniel were 34.3 seconds behind the overall leader and 18.1 seconds off second place. Sitting just 6.6 seconds off fourth place, Dani and Marc also had a clear objective. The setting was set, the actors knew the scenario... and there was nothing left but to go for it!
"As during Legs 1 and 2, we pushed as hard as possible... but it wasn't sufficient," regretted Sebastian. "Our set-up was good, our C4 WRC was very competitive and we didn't make any mistakes. Despite running third on the road, we failed to benefit from better conditions. Our rivals didn't sweep the road in the same way we were forced to on the previous legs."
"I cannot say I'm happy about finishing third and I'm no more pleased to have conceded the lead in the Drivers' Championship," added Seb. "For three days we have tried everything. We often exceeded our limits, using every bit of the car's potential and that of the Pirelli tyres which stood up well to the risk of punctures. Except maybe for New Zealand, we should no longer have to worry about the problem of 'road-sweeping' for any of the seven rallies that remain, and that can only be a good thing. We know that we're ready for what's coming, the points differences in the two championships are minimal and there will doubtless be more fights to close these gaps. I can take a break in the knowledge that the rest of the season promises to be very exciting ... And we'll soon be back in Finland, too... "
Highly motivated, Dani and Marc needed just one stage (SS17) to capture the 4th place they were targeting. "I am very happy that we did it," smiled the young Spaniard. "We then set our times based on those of our opponent. At the end of this difficult weekend, this result is good for me. Our C4 was competitive and we put in some good stage performances. I forced myself to take care of my tyres and I think we made further progress in driving on the loose. Now I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and the prospect of the three asphalt rallies to come..."
"Hot temperatures, the difficulty of the stages and the intensity of the event made this a really gruelling week-end for all members of the Citroen Sport team," concluded Olivier Quesnel. "Seb and Daniel produced a perfect rally given the conditions. They gave it everything and should be proud of their third place. The result for Dani and Marc is also very good. They had to fight hard to get 4th place and they succeeded. We've now reached mid- season. Seb is only three points behind in the Drivers' Championship and Citroen is nine points off the lead in the Manufacturers' table. The gaps are therefore quite small. The remainder of the season promises to be extremely exciting.... "