Loeb and Citroen revel in the mud The conditions of the second day of the 2008 Rally Argentina, round four of this year's World Rally Championship, were every bit as treacherous as those encountered on Friday, but that didn't prevent Sebastien...
Loeb and Citroen revel in the mud
The conditions of the second day of the 2008 Rally Argentina, round four of this year's World Rally Championship, were every bit as treacherous as those encountered on Friday, but that didn't prevent Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena successfully defending their overnight lead at the wheel of their Citroen C4 WRC. Meanwhile, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti also put in an assertive run to move up to fourth place.
Today's leg was the longest of the weekend, with 154km of competitive action divided into eight stages in the region of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, south of Cordoba, plus a second visit to the super-special.
"I was very pleased with the runs of both our crews today, as well as with the faultless performance of the two Citroen C4 WRCs," commented Olivier Quesnel at the end-of-day service park in Villa Carlos Paz. "Sebastien and Daniel were in total control and managed to up their pace whenever the conditions allowed to pull even further clear. At the same time, they took it easier through the more delicate portions so as not to make any mistakes. They are in a good position for tomorrow."
"Dani and Marc did a first class job, too," added the boss of Citroen Sport. "Their situation wasn't simple, beginning with their road position which forced them to run in the mud formed by the competitors ahead of them on the road. They needed to strike the ideal balance between pushing hard and taking it cautiously. They managed to combine the two and pushed their rivals into making a mistake. They are now up to fourth and in a position to score championship points for Citroen. The two most difficult legs of the rally are now behind us, but there are still 40km of stages to come. We can't afford to take our eye off the ball because Giulio Cesare and El Condor are both notoriously difficult tests."
"The lead we built up yesterday made life easier for us today," observed Sebastien Loeb. "It was still very difficult, though, because the 2008 regulations meant that our tyre supplier Pirelli could only give us hard compound tyres for this event. On today's slippery stages, the mud gave very little grip and we knew it would be difficult to drive flat out. It's a shame that a small 'cut' to the pattern of our tyres the same for everyone wasn't allowed. Lots of decisions that have been positive for our safety have already been taken and this measure would have been simple to introduce. Even so, we came through the day unscathed and we now need to do the same again tomorrow to keep our lead."
After being slowed on Friday with a steering rack problem, Dani and Marc were looking to make up for lost ground today. "My aim was to get a little closer to the podium," said Dani. "It didn't take me long to realise that it wouldn't be easy without taking lots of risks. It was impossible to know for sure how the car was going to react in all the dirt churned up by the cars running ahead of us and I was caught between the desire to push and the fear of compromising our chances of a good result. I didn't want to throw everything away. The final day is the shortest of the rally but we will need to stay totally focused if we want to come away with vital championship points for Citroen."
Conrad Rautenbach and David Senior are currently fifth with their Citroen C4 WRC run by PH-Sport with support from Citroen Technologies technicians.