Day 3: Citroen and Loeb head for the Riviera in front Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena completed the third day of the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally on top of the provisional leaderboard with their Citroen C4 WRC after spending Saturday managing from in...
Day 3: Citroen and Loeb head for the Riviera in front
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena completed the third day of the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally on top of the provisional leaderboard with their Citroen C4 WRC after spending Saturday managing from in front without taking any undue risks. At the wheel of the second Citroen Total car, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were stopped in their tracks by a turbo problem on SS11.
With a total of 133 kilometres against the clock, today's leg was the longest of the weekend in terms of competitive distance and the provisional leaders, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who were also running first on the road, preferred to start the morning's group of stages cautiously. "There must be a better way to start a day than having to tackle such selective stages as Lalouvesc and Saint Bonnet le Froid," quipped Sebastien Loeb. "As the sun came up, there were still patches of ice about, and even thick fog on SS10. It's tough to loosen up completely when the conditions are like that. The first two stages kept us on our toes but the morning's last test was more straightforward and we tried to push hard in order to get a clearer picture of the way the Pirelli PZero tyre reacts on this sort of terrain." The morning's loop saw the defending World Champions post two further fastest times to extend their lead at the top.
The morning was less successful, however, for their team-mates Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: "The day started well enough," related the Spanish driver. "I was very pleased with the way my Citroen C4 WRC was performing and I tried to push without driving excessively quickly. The first two stages enabled us to increase our advantage over the crew following in third place, but then we had a scare with the engine on SS11 (Lamastre). I stopped to see if it was possible to repair but after a few minutes the team took the decision not to try to continue. I am obviously very disappointed not to be able to score big points for Citroen here this weekend."
Settling into a pace that was sufficiently quick for them to stay concentrated, Sebastien and Daniel rounded off the final day of competition in France's Ardèche region in front. "This afternoon, I drove especially carefully on Saint Bonnet which was still damp," reported Sebastien. "I'm glad the northern stages of this year's Monte Carlo Rally are behind us. We now head south for the last five tests which could still cause an upset or two."
"It's been a day of contrasting fortunes for us," concluded Olivier Quesnel. "Sebastien, Daniel and their Citroen C4 WRC once again showed their speed and superbly came through all the potential pitfalls unscathed. They will now need to put in the same sort of performance tomorrow and I am counting on their experience on Sunday's stages which include the Col du Turini where spectators have a habit of throwing snow onto the road. That creates an added difficulty which isn't in the pacenotes and can take the crews by surprise. I am delighted with Sebastien's day but it would have been nice to have seen Dani and Marc continue their perfectly-paced run, but turbo failure decided otherwise. After repairs, they will profit from the SupeRally ruling to re-start tomorrow morning. They are currently ninth in the classification for drivers eligible to score points and there's a chance they could finish in the points on Sunday afternoon."