Loeb and the Xsara move one step further! Rally Japan marks a new step in CitroÃ«n's history with the Far East. Seven decades after the memorable "CroisiÃ¨re Jaune", and twelve years after the "Paris-Pekin" win in the rally raids competition,...
Loeb and the Xsara move one step further!
Rally Japan marks a new step in Citroën's history with the Far East. Seven decades after the memorable "Croisière Jaune", and twelve years after the "Paris-Pekin" win in the rally raids competition, the Chevrons scored a generous amount of points on Hokkaido island for both Championships.
Team mates Loeb/Elena and Sainz/Marti led their Xsaras to second and fifth positions respectively on the first World event competed in the "land of rising sun".
In the Drivers classification, Seb' has slightly increased his lead on his closest rival. He lies in front of the reigning World Champion by a thirty point margin, equalling three wins. Carlos Sainz, only four points behind the Norwegian maintains his position among the front-runners. Thanks to this excellent team result, Citroën scores twelve more points for the Manufacturers Championship and sits 35 points in front of the other competitors, five rounds before the end of the season.
In this event, described by team boss Guy Fréquelin as "very tricky", Sébastien Loeb adopted two different strategies. First, he started following the "way of the Samouraï". Despite the fact he was cleaning the road, he finished the first leg equalling the future winner's stage wins and conquered a deserved second place. Then, when victory seemed difficult to obtain and his chasers less threatening, Seb' adopted the "way of the wise man". As usual he showed great self-control qualities while his Xsara proved just as reliable. "Of course, I'm very happy. It's the third time we finished second this season and I think it's looking rather good for the coming rounds. As far as the rally is concerned, I liked the stages despite the fact they are very narrow. What's difficult is to switch from the very slow pace on the recce to the fast one of the rally. It's a good event which could be improved if the time spent on road sections was reduced"
Carlos Sainz experienced a less easy rally than his team-mate. The Spaniard elected different set-up throughout the three legs trying to find the most efficient solution. He posted three fastest times proving he was almost reaching the perfect combination. He fought until the end thanks to his consistency and his car's reliability and lost the fourth place battle only by a few seconds. "It has been a very difficult event! I've been looking for 100% confidence all weekend as it was needed on that kind of very fast terrain where there's no place for the slightest mistake. However, once more the team has achieved a fantastic result and I'm happy to be part of it..;"