Leg 2: Loeb and Elena keep to the same heading
It had already been dark for some time when the Citroen C4 WRCs of first Dani Sordo/Marc Marti, then Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena pulled into the service park in Swansea this evening after the second leg of the 2007 Wales Rally GB. The Spanish pair continue to figure in fifth place overall, while Seb and Daniel still have a footing on the provisional podium. If the leaderboard stays as it is this evening, a fourth consecutive world title will be theirs tomorrow afternoon...
The second day of the 16th and last round of the season took crews to the forests near Llandovery, north of Swansea, for a loop of three stages to be contested twice each and a little more than 100km of competitive action. Saturday's programme was rounded off by a visit to the super-special inside Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
The forecaster from Meteo France-Sports, one of Citroen Sport's technical partners this season, did not believe there would be any more fog and also correctly predicted that Saturday's leg would again be wet, very wet! "It effectively rained for most of the day but visibility was far better than yesterday," pointed out Sebastien Loeb. "The stages themselves were different, too. There were more long, fast corners which call for a more fluid style as you flow from turn to turn. I've always enjoyed this sort of road here in previous years but it was quite frustrating this time round. However, if we end up taking the title, that will soon be forgotten. We have stuck to our game-plan so far and we are currently third with a handy lead over our closest chasers and just one day to go...!"
Today's action took place on the other side of the Black Mountain which separates the coastal region from mid-Wales and enabled Dani Sordo and Marc Marti to make their mark. The fact that there was no fog allowed me loosen up a bit," said Dani. "The stages are difficult but I succeeded in posting some quick times compared to rivals with more experience of these forests. The amount of grip changes all the time and it can be easy to get caught out under braking. We also found ourselves aquaplaning in the mud quite a lot. Once again, I have been able to measure how important experience is on the loose if you want to be both quick and consistent on a stage from start to finish."
"Our Citroen C4 WRCs are respectively third and fifth this evening," observed Guy Frequelin at the service park in Swansea this evening. "Usually, I wouldn't be at all happy with that, but this time I'm very pleased with the runs of the two Citroen Sport crews. The stages were once again extremely difficult. In addition to being just as slippery as yesterday's tests, they were also fast and an error was possible at any time. Sebastien and Daniel succeeded in finding the same pace that worked so well for them yesterday, though. They are still on the provisional podium and continue to be an ideal position to perhaps claim the title on Sunday. After their hesitant start on Day 1, Dani and Marc managed to up their pace and set some good times given their lack of experience of the Welsh forests. There are four more stages and another day of stress to come tomorrow..."