Four C4s in the first 4 places!
Four Citroen C4 WRC are currently leading Rally Portugal at the end of the second day of the event. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have been the quickest crew today with four fastest times out of six stages, and they are now in second place 21.1s behind Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti in the second C4 of the Citroen Total World Rally Team are lying fourth behind Petter Solberg and Phil Mills.
The battle between six drivers covered by a minute with six stages in the Algarve Mountains to sort them out was on the second day's menu of Rally Portugal. After the usual morning interlude in the service park, the crews tackled a loop of three stages.
Sebastien Loeb was third on the road behind Sebastien Ogier and Dani Sordo, and the Frenchman set his first fastest time in the rally in Almodovar 1 (SS8), which he followed up with another in Vascao 1 (ES9). In just two stages the six-time world champion reduced the gap to the leader from 45 to 25 seconds! He pulled back a few more seconds in SS10 before returning to the service park in the Stadio Algarve: "I'm feeling good in the car and I'm pushing as hard as I can to try and close the gap. The conditions are more favourable than yesterday, but Sebastien's going very quickly despite being first on the road. I'm not sure I can make up as much time this afternoon."
Dani Sordo was second at the start of the day and finished the first loop behind his team-mate: "I lost time in the final kilometres in Almodovar1. There was a twisty section with a lot of overcrests, and I got a little lost in the notes so I didn't want to take any risks. In the next two stages things went better and I'm happy with my time in SS10. I have to continue like that this afternoon and I know that managing my tyres will make all the difference.
The Pirelli Scorpion were given a hammering second time through the stages due to the intense heat and the very abrasive surface. Loeb's best at the end of SS11 was only good enough for fourth! "Maybe I was a bit too cautious but that could pay off over the whole loop." He set the two fastest times in the last two stages and pulled back a few seconds on `Seb Junior.' "The gap's a bit bigger than I'd have liked. Sebastien's driven very quickly and he hasn't been too hard on his tyres. He's a very tough rival and it won't be easy to beat him tomorrow. We'll be first and second on the road and that means that sweeping will have less effect."
Dani Sordo lost a place during the afternoon as he was unable to fight his corner. "We weren't able to nurse our tyres. The tread on the left-hand front came off just before the finish of the first stage. We had to race in the other two with the same tyres and it was impossible to go flat out. That cost us thirty seconds and third place. I can't afford to let up tomorrow as Mikko Hirvonen is not far behind. I'll also try to catch Petter Solberg who isn't too far in front either."