Sebastien Loeb, a step closer to his objective... Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Citroen Xsara completed Round 10 of the 2005 World Championship as superb runners-up to Marcus Gronholm who secured the fifth win of his career on his home...
Sebastien Loeb, a step closer to his objective...
Sebastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Citroen Xsara completed Round 10 of the 2005 World Championship as superb runners-up to Marcus Gronholm who secured the fifth win of his career on his home event. The Citroen crew's seventh consecutive podium finish, which equals the existing record established by Carlos Sainz, sees the pair extend its cushion over its closest rival in the Drivers' championship by one point.
Seb and Daniel's extraordinary performance goes well beyond this purely clinical analysis of the weekend however. For practically two full days of competition and over sixteen stages, the Citroen crew successfully matched the pace of the local star and pushed him to his limits before accepting 2nd spot with panache.
"We gave him a very close run and we come away with eight valuable points," said Seb at the finish, before adding with his customary frankness: "In championship terms, this is an excellent result... but it's not a victory. Whenever a winning run like this comes to an end -- even if you know it will stop one day -- is bound to be a little bit sad. That said, I am very happy and proud to have been able to take the fight to Marcus over stages he has competed on every year since 1989. You have to know when to accept being beaten by an opponent of his calibre on his home ground. We put in a very good run... and he put in a flawless performance."
Continuing the process of rebuilding his confidence with a view to contributing valuable support in the events to come, Francois Duval and his co-driver Sven Smeets had the satisfaction of producing a faultless run in Finland: "We didn't put a foot wrong on an event where it is so easy to make a mistake," said the young Belgian. "We also achieved the objective we were set and we are looking forward to doing better still in Germany which stands out as a more straightforward rally for us..."
"We mustn't, you mustn't be disappointed," repeated Guy Frequelin when congratulating Seb, Daniel and the team at the finish. The Citroen Sport boss recalls the Xsara's first visit to Finland just four years ago and is able to measure the considerable ground that has been covered since. He also kept a constant eye on proceedings in the JWRC category and was delighted with the C2 Super 1600's third win of the season, and the second for the promising Daniel Sordo. "This event was new for Dani, so what he has achieved this weekend over such notoriously difficult stages is simply exceptional. I am especially pleased that his talent is showcasing the potential of both the C2 Super 1600 and our Customer Competition team."