A leg which lived up to expectations... Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena finished the first leg of the Tour de Corse by setting the fastest time in the final special stage of the day, " AullÃ¨ne/Arbellara ". This performance allowed them to...
A leg which lived up to expectations...
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena finished the first leg of the Tour de Corse by setting the fastest time in the final special stage of the day, " Aullène/Arbellara ". This performance allowed them to retake third place in the classification from their team-mates, Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti.
Since the start of this event, the Citroëns have constantly been in third and fourth places, but Seb and Carlos alternated positions after every stage. The presence of the two Xsara WRCs this high in the classification suits both Citroën and Sebastien perfectly in terms of their respective quest for the Manufacturers' and Drivers' titles.
While the starting ceremony was underway at Foch Square yesterday, heavy rain fell over Ajaccio. A violent storm followed the fireworks over the harbour, and the showers continued all night long. The sun returned this morning, and the team's job was to work out how quickly the special stages making up the first loop would dry, in order to make the best possible tyre choice. The Citroën team thought that the roads would stay damp, and opted for soft tyres. It was the right choice : SS1 was very damp, and SS2 only dried towards the end.
Starting off at a controlled pace, Sebastien Loeb was careful because of slight understeering affecting the behaviour of his car. The problem was solved during the midday service. Cautious in the gravely section of SS3, a confident Seb changed his pace to win SS4. " I had to pick up the pace a bit. Carlos had got ahead me, Marcus Gronholm was not far behind. The special stage was dry, my Xsara was perfect again... everything is going well on our side. Petter Solberg appears to be struggling to get on the pace. Things are going in the way we wanted, and I feel slightly less tense now that the match is underway. But nothing is over yet..."
It is true that nothing is over, to the delight of Carlos Sainz. "It is great to be back on the Corsican asphalt. For a rally driver, it is the most beautiful asphalt in the world. Overall, the day was satisfactory, once we solved the understeering problem. I just had a slight worry in SS2 concerning the rear anti-roll bar. Tomorrow, there is a very complicated part, but it will be very interesting ..."
Guy Frequelin, very satisfied with the day's work, was already looking forward to tomorrow : " It looks as if we are in for a treat as far as the weather is concerned. Plenty of rain overnight, so difficult weather conditions for tomorrow in short, the Tour de Corse in all its beauty. Luckily, the mini service areas on the schedule should make things slightly easier. But I think it is going to be a long day..."