SÃ©bastien is holding on SÃ©bastien Loeb is holding on ! After a challenging second leg under boiling hot conditions, the CitroÃ«n Xsara of the young Frenchman is tonight still leading the Rally of Turkey. Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti lie in a ...
Sébastien is holding on
Sébastien Loeb is holding on ! After a challenging second leg under boiling hot conditions, the Citroën Xsara of the young Frenchman is tonight still leading the Rally of Turkey. Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti lie in a satisfying fourth position.
Seb' was today expecting a tough battle with Marcus Grönholm, who was only 7,5 seconds behind him. They say that attack is the best form of defence. So he did and set the fastest time on the first stage of the day in "Perge", bringing his lead to 16,3 seconds. But at the start of stage 9, his Xsara jumped and stopped dead on landing as the engine stalled. Seb lost a few seconds before he could re start the 36 kilometre test. "As a matter of fact, I didn't drive very well in the first part. I needed some time to regain my concentration...After that, almost at the end of the stage I braked a little late for a corner and I had to drive in the loose gravel, where my wheels blocked and the engine stalled."
In addition to these misadventures, the Citroën driver received a ten second penalty for a jump start. Marcus Grönholm was the new rally leader with a 6,9 seconds margin.
But Sébastien never lost his motivation. He won stage 10 bringing his deficit on the Finn back to 2,5 seconds. He also set the fastest time on stage 11 and was leading again by 14 seconds. He performed well in the following tests to come back to the Kemer service park with a 15,9 seconds lead on his rival. He was very satisfied : "It was another very good day. Tough though because of the heat in these very twisty stages. The car balance is simply perfect, I have full confidence in it and we have not made any mistakes..."
By contrast, his team-mate Carlos Sainz will not keep good memories of this second leg which however added another page to his incredible records and performances.
After stage 11, Carlos was almost dehydrated and experiencing cramps throughout his body. He looked worryingly tired, and the Citroën team medical staff took advantage of the service time to give him as much treatment as possible. However, the team was not very optimistic when he left to compete the final loop of the day.
But, once again, "El Matador" found the necessary resources to set an eighth and a fourth fastest time. "I have experienced the toughest day of my career. Even worse than in Sanremo when I started after a laser treatment for kidney stones. To say that I'm happy to see the end of the day is an understatement. I am relying on a good night sleep to be fit tomorrow..."
Tomorrow two stages are run twice. One very long and one very short. In total 78 kilometres of competition. "We have a small lead but we will try to control it, said Seb. I really want to win but I imagine that Marcus wants it as well."