A good points haul for Citroen The very last stage of WRC newcomer Rally Poland which was an immediate hit saw the consistent run of Dani Sordo and Marc Marti rewarded with second place. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena's concluded their...
A good points haul for Citroen
The very last stage of WRC newcomer Rally Poland which was an immediate hit saw the consistent run of Dani Sordo and Marc Marti rewarded with second place. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena's concluded their fight-back by finishing seventh overall, while Citroen has succeeded in extending its lead at the top of the provisional World Rally Championship standings.
The final day of the 2009 Rally Poland was significantly shorter than Friday's and Saturday's legs and featured two visits to two stages Milki and Tros, located either side of Lake Niegocin plus one last attempt to the Mikolajki super-special.
Despite overnight rain, the conditions were dry for the morning's first test (SS14, Milki) which Dani Sordo completed 25 seconds down on the leaders: "I got my braking wrong for a hairpin because the board I had chosen as a marker had disappeared! We went straight on and that cost us a bit of time.
Although the incident didn't really change much for us, it did show how vital it is to stay focused all the way to the flag if we want to finish on the podium." While Sebastien Ogier was busy notching up his first fastest time of the weekend, the next best performance on the stage was the work of Sebastien Loeb: "I'm taking fewer risks this morning. Our aim is still to score points for Citroen."
After the rally's final 30-minute service break, crews headed out one last time for the Polish stages. Dani Sordo kept to the same pace, but Sebastien Loeb moved a step closer to a top-eight finish when Ogier was forced out on SS16. Conrad Rautenbach then made way for the five-time World Champion to enable the Frenchman to move into a points-scoring position on SS17. There was more drama to come, however, when Jari-Matti Latvala stopped on the super-special, allowing Dani and Sebastien to finish second and seventh overall respectively!
"We asked Evgeny Novikov and Conrad Rautenbach to let Sebastien pass this morning to enable Citroen Total WRT to score as many points as possible," explained Citroen Racing Director Olivier Quesnel. "We were very disappointed when Sebastien Ogier retired after such a perfect run. It's been a difficult weekend, but Citroen is the team which has come away with the highest number of points. We have extended our cushion at the top of the Manufacturers' championship to 17 points, and Sebastien is now just one point clear of Mikko Hirvonen in the Drivers' standings."
Dani Sordo was feeling particularly upbeat after finishing second in Poland: "Seb's problem on Day 1 put me in a difficult situation because it meant I really had to make sure I finished at least third to be sure of finishing in the big points. Even so, I still managed to post some top times at a time when the two Ford drivers were both going flat out. I am sincerely sorry for Jari-Matti; I know how disappointing it can be to go off on the last stage of a rally."
"I obviously can't be satisfied with seventh place, but we did succeed in salvaging something from the weekend," added Sebastien Loeb. "Given the way things stand after this rally, I think the points we managed to secure here could turn out to be very valuable at the end of the year. I am now more fired up than ever for the next rounds..."