Second overall for Petter and Chris at the end of day one.
The opening day of Rally France saw Petter and Chris climb to second place overall with a second fastest time on SS3, the longest stage of the rally, 36kms Pays d’Ormont, which also saw the retirement of Championship leader Sebastien Loeb with an engine problem and a brief off for the Fords of both Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, although both managed to complete the stage. Kimi Räikkönen failed to start the stage due to a collision with Henning Solberg on the road section before, which forced him to retire.
I am so happy about fighting up there at the top. Second tonight is perfect for me, it’s just seconds between us.
The afternoon brought fastest stage times for the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, the first of which was shared with Mini’s Dani Sordo after he set exactly the same time on SS6. Petter and Chris took the rally lead on SS7 with their fastest time through the second run of Pays d’Ormont but the overnight lead belongs to Sordo who was fastest through the final stage of the day moving from third overall to first, ahead of both Petter and Citroën’s Sebastien Ogier who had been lying in second overall.
- Today has been absolutely fantastic, says Petter Solberg. – I am so happy about fighting up there at the top. Second tonight is perfect for me, it’s just seconds between us. I didn’t want to take any risks on the gravel part on the last stage, so backed off a bit there. The Citroën DS3 has been perfect all day and I so enjoy being able to drive fast without driving crazy. Tomorrow is an important day, and I guess most will be settled then, as Sunday is only a short day.
Dani Sordo leads Rally France at the end of day one followed by Petter and Chris with Sebastien Ogier in third overall. The rally is over for Sebastien Loeb who will not be restarting under supeRally rules
Rally de France Alsace continues with nine stages tomorrow. The first car will be on the road from 0823 local time.