Sebastien Ogier's Citroen C2 leads the way The sixth round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship got underway this morning under the bright sunshine of the Catalunya region in Spain. The Citroen drivers all got off to a good start from the...
Sebastien Ogier's Citroen C2 leads the way
The sixth round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship got underway this morning under the bright sunshine of the Catalunya region in Spain. The Citroen drivers all got off to a good start from the very first special stage and managed to hold onto their positions all the way to the end of the challenging opening day.
Junior World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier, in a C2 Super 1600 prepared by PH- Sport, did not give his rivals the slightest opportunity throughout the six stages that were run as the opening day. The Frenchman set five quickest times out of a possible six to end up 47 seconds ahead of Martin Prokop, who was second in the Junior World Rally Championship classification overnight. The Czech was one of the only drivers to keep pace with Ogier throughout the day. He even managed to steal a fastest stage time from the Frenchman on the penultimate test of the day. Aaron Burkart generally struggled to find a good feeling with his C2 Super 1600 over the day's stages, and has ended up fifth overnight. Shaun Gallagher also decided that discretion was the better part of valour in his own C2 Super 1600 and returned to parc ferme in seventh place. Spanish driver Sergio Perez a wild card entry on his home event, was forced to retire with a mechanical problem.
Hans Weijs meanwhile is the only Citroen C2-R2 MAX to have entered the battle. Francesco Fanari, in the other C2-R2 MAX did not start the event due to illness. Weijs finished day one in 10th overall amongst the Juniors.
Aaron Burkart (D) Michael Koelbach (D) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"Today wasn't at all easy for me. I started off with a good rhythm but I dropped it slightly on SS3. My C2 Super 1600 was definitely very good on the Spanish roads, but for whatever reason I didn't feel comfortable in myself. The afternoon went a bit better, but I wasn't able to climb back up the leaderboard. I hope we can make more progress tomorrow, because a good result here is vital for the championship. "
Shaun Gallagher (EI) Paul Kiely (EI) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"I never had a good feeling from the start. Sebastien Ogier is really quick and it's quite difficult to fight against him. Hopefully I can find a better pace tomorrow as I know that my C2 Super 1600 is certainly up to it. I've not had much running on asphalt this year so I'm struggling to get to grips with this surface. Having said that the second run through the stages was decidedly better than the first one for me, so I'm feeling confident for the rest of the event. "
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"This morning I wanted to be quick straight out of the box. But I'm still surprised by the gap we had to the other drivers. Afterwards, myself and Julien decided to back off a bit in order not to take any risks. This rally could well mark a turning point in the championship, so we cannot afford to make the slightest mistake. Our goal is now to maintain our advantage in order to bring home the best result possible. "
Martin Prokop (CZ) Jan Tomanek (CZ) (Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"The day didn't really get off to a good start for myself and Jan as we lost 40 seconds on the very first stage with a technical problem. Then we settled into quite a good day, as we set four second-fastest stage times plus one fastest stage time. We're going to try and gradually make up time on Sebastien Ogier over the next couple of days, with the main goal of hanging onto our podium place. "
Hans Weijs (NL) Hans Van Goor (NL) (Citroen C2-R2 MAX)
"We really had a good day today. The asphalt is perfect, we've found plenty of grip, and the weather has been good. I'm not taking any risks at all as my goal is just to learn the roads and make the most of my C2-R2 MAX. I've got a very good feeling with the car that has put me at ease on all the stages and I hope that tomorrow is just as enjoyable as today was. "