Sebastien Ogier on the hunt for points Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia started the Rally de EspaÃ±a in second place this morning, but lost 15 minutes as the result of a small impact on the second stage of the day. The Citroen Junior Team...
Sebastien Ogier on the hunt for points
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia started the Rally de España in second place this morning, but lost 15 minutes as the result of a small impact on the second stage of the day. The Citroen Junior Team kept on going and are now aiming for a top-10 finish, which would allow them to defend their second position in the FIA World Rally Championship.
After an opening day on gravel, Spain's round of the World Rally Championship continued on Catalan asphalt. Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia started the day perfectly, placed less than four seconds behind Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena. In Santa Martina 1, the Citroen Junior Team's Citroen C4 WRC set second-fastest time, consolidating its position in the overall classification.
Sebastien and Julien seemed to be heading for another fastest stage time on La Mussara 1 (SS8). "We were keeping up a good pace and our split times were very encouraging," said the no.7 C4 WRC driver.
"Just before the end of the stage, I misunderstood a pace note which said that the corner tightened. I went into the corner too quickly and we hit the guardrail on the outside. The front-right track control arm broke and we had to stop to change it."
The crew managed to change the part in less than 15 minutes before continuing to the next stage.
Having been warned of the incident, the Citroen Junior Team got ready to deal with it. "We had to prepare the service plan in order to make sure we fixed all the damage sustained," explained Clement Mitchell, the engineer in charge of the French crew's C4 WRC. "With an entire stage to run under these tricky circumstances, certain parts of the transmission could be subject to unusual patterns of wear. The worst-case scenario would be that we had to swap the gearbox for the one that was used on gravel. Luckily, the damage did not turn out to be too serious. After the 30-minute service halt, we were able to give Sebastien back a C4 WRC that was once more in perfect condition."
Sebastien and Julien had dropped down to 17th place but they were determined to fight back throughout the second loop of stages. They used the next 63 competitive kilometres to battle their way back up to 14th place.
"I don't at all regret having pushed hard in the morning," said Sebastien. "I wanted to try and keep up with Sebastien Loeb's pace on asphalt. We were fighting with him and our split times were very good. What happened was a pity as we will lose some World Championship points but I always prefer to attack even if it means taking a few risks sometimes. Tomorrow, we need to continue to drive with the objective of taking 2.5 seconds per kilometre off the driver currently classified 10th. We'll see after the first run through the long stage if this goal is a realistic one or not..."