An early taste of Finland for CitroÃ«n and Dani Sordo As part of its build-up to the Rally Finland (August 3-5), the ninth round of the 2007 World Rally Championship, CitroÃ«n Sport has decided to enter a C4 WRC for Dani Sordo and Marc MartÃ on...
An early taste of Finland for Citroën and Dani Sordo
As part of its build-up to the Rally Finland (August 3-5), the ninth round of the 2007 World Rally Championship, Citroën Sport has decided to enter a C4 WRC for Dani Sordo and Marc Martí on the O.K. Auto-Ralli.
The O.K. Ralli is the final event to take place in Finland before the country hosts its flagship fixture that will mark the start of the second half of the world series and is based on a two-day format. The Friday is given over to recce of the 91km of stages, while the event itself takes place on the Saturday, using gravel roads near Kouvola, a small town to the north-seat of Helsinki.
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena recently contested and won the Donegal International Rally driving a Citroën C4. For Citroën Sport, that outing was a step into unknown territory and a foretaste of the challenge that awaits them in Ireland. That won't be the case in Finland, however, as Guy Fréquelin explains: "Since our first visit to Finland in 2002, we are beginning to build up good experience of the specific characteristics of the Finnish stages. Our recent test session with both crews enabled us to get in some good work with the C4 WRC. It is still a new car and we are still trying to make it a competitive package on all types of surface. The O.K. Ralli will enable us to see if the set-up we have found for Finland functions. If it doesn't, we will be able to modify it."
"The other reason for taking part," continues Guy Fréquelin, "is to give Dani Sordo a chance to get more kilometres under his belt on these highly specific roads. You need plenty of practical experience of competing in Finland if you are to have any chance of finding the key. The presence of the local drivers who know the stages by heart will serve as an interesting benchmark for Dani. His objective will be to go the distance with a view to boosting his confidence, improving his feeling with the C4 and providing us with valuable data concerning the C4's handling, especially over the numerous jumps."
Dani Sordo is looking forward to the prospect: "I'm very pleased to be taking part in this event. It will be good experience for me. So far, I've only competed in Finland twice, and only one of those occasions last year was with a WRC car. The stages are very fast and the jumps are clearly an important parameter, so it's essential to have excellent benchmarks. The roads used by the O.K. Ralli are similar to Rally Finland's Ouninpohja stage and consequently very difficult. It will be good practice to run with the Citroën C4 and I will be looking to validate the set-up we found in testing."