A podium in Japan for Citroen and Sordo The third and final leg of the Rally Japan saw Dani Sordo and Marc Marti successfully steer their Citroen C4 WRC to second place at the finish in Obihiro this afternoon. Meanwhile, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel...
A podium in Japan for Citroen and Sordo The third and final leg of the Rally Japan saw Dani Sordo and Marc Marti successfully steer their Citroen C4 WRC to second place at the finish in Obihiro this afternoon. Meanwhile, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena profited from the SupeRally ruling to re-join the fourteenth round of the championship with their C4 with a view to preparing for early December's Wales Rally GB.
The programme of the last day featured 97.33km of stages which took the form of two loops of three tests, plus a final visit to the Obihiro super-special. And once again, the day's early start (up at 3.30am!), long road sections (290.42km) and low temperatures (5C) ensured that the Japanese event will be remem bered as one of the toughest fixtures of the year.
Although Dani Sordo didn't particularly enjoy his first visit to Hokkaido in 2006, he will leave Japan's northernmost island with fond memories this time round. "It wasn't the easiest of events," he remarked after spraying the champagne on this afternoon's podium. "We really had to take care over today's stages which were again extremely slippery. The combination of fast roads and frequently changing grip meant that we had to be on our toes throughout. I am glad to have finished second and the weekend has brought me a lot of extra experience on this type of terrain. That could well come in useful in the future. We also did some good set-up for the last round of the year in Wales."
Despite their off on Saturday's SS13, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena re-joined the event this morning with the intention of preparing for the last gravel round of the season. "Along with the Citroen Sport technical staff, we decided to profit from the last day to work on the set-up of our C4 WRC because the conditions were similar to what we can expect in Wales. Daniel and I have already put yesterday's mistake behind us. We are fully aware of the challenge that awaits us if we want to defend our title. The fight is by no means over and we give it our very best shot on the last two rounds of the season."
"I would like to congratulate Dani Sordo and Marc Marti for their first class performance here despite the complex conditions," concluded Guy Frequelin. "They came through the fog, rain, mud and ice unscathed and, given Dani's lack of experience, a podium finish was a fitting reward. I hope they manage to obtain a similar result in Ireland. That could be a big help for Sebastien. The excellent potential of our car in these conditions was the other positive feature of the weekend. It would obviously have been better had Sebastien and Daniel been able to benefit fully from Marcus Gronholm's retirement. But since they retired, too, the situation at the top of the points table hasn't changed, except for the fact that there are now only two events still to come and Seb and Daniel will have to win them both if they want to win the title. Everything is still possible. We all know we face a big challenge but everyone at Citroen Sport is ready to do their utmost to pull it off..."