Dani Sordo finishes just off the podium Dani Sordo and Diego Vallejo fought among the leaders from the first stage to the last, before finishing fourth overall on the Rally Japan in their Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC. Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj ...
Dani Sordo finishes just off the podium
Dani Sordo and Diego Vallejo fought among the leaders from the first stage to the last, before finishing fourth overall on the Rally Japan in their Citroen Junior Team C4 WRC. Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj Lindstrom were forced to retire on the final day.
Dani Sordo started fourth this morning and then got past Mikko Hirvonen on the opening loop of stages, before being forced to concede the final podium place to Jari-Matti Latvala in Naekawa. "We gave away a lot of time in the slower places there," reported the frustrated Spaniard. "I think I lost all my chances of winning the rally during the two passes over that particular stage."
In fact, at the end of SS23, Dani Sordo lay 33.7 seconds behind the leader Sebastien Ogier, with 28 of those seconds lost in the two passes over the Naekawa stage.
Dani was determined to attack again in Sunagawa 2 (SS24) and just missed out on fastest time by 0.6 seconds. The two final stages allowed the Citroen Junior Team driver to consolidate his excellent fourth place overall. "I tend to focus on the negative side of things but that's only because I'm so keen to improve," he said. "Even though we had a great rally by being in the fight for the lead all the way to the end, I'm very disappointed to have lost my chance to win in so few kilometres. In Naekawa I was just as quick, if not quicker, than the others during the first part of the stage, which was similar to the stages in Finland. But as soon as the road became more twisty, I lost a lot of time. At the same time, I was taking care to drive as neatly as I could. So I clearly still need to work hard on the slower sections. Leaving that aside, I'm very pleased with the result and the way that we achieved it together with the Citroen Junior Team."
Kimi Raikkonen and Kaj Lindstrom were eighth on the road for the final day of the rally but got caught out on the opening special stage. "I misunderstood a pace note," explained Kimi when he got back to the service park. "It was my fault. The rear of the car went wide and we slid down a bank. Unfortunately we weren't able to get going again. It's disappointing, as when we were finally able to get the car back onto the road we were able to drive back to service as usual. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it."
"The first morning was really difficult as I didn't have a good feeling with the car," added the Finn, who received a very warm welcome from all the Japanese fans. "Then, thanks to some good work from the team on the set-up, we were able to make a lot of progress. Without any pre-event testing and with a shakedown that took place only on asphalt, I needed a few kilometres just to build up a comfortable feeling again. Once more we've learned a lot on a rally that is completely new to us. It was a very tricky route, with extremely specialised stages..."
Team Manager Benoit Nogier concluded: "Dani experienced a few difficulties in his performance over just a handful of kilometres. Apart from that, he proved to be extremely competitive, setting several fastest stage times. We felt that he was fully integrated into our team and hugely motivated. He fought at the front, showing that his place is right up there with all the other factory drivers. We're a bit disappointed not to see Kimi at the finish though. He drove a very solid rally yesterday but today it did not quite come to fruition. On the asphalt rallies coming up, he should feel a bit more at ease. In Alsace, where the Rallye de France is based, we will also welcome Sebastien Ogier back to the Citroen Junior Team: a driver who is building up quite a reputation in the World Rally Championship."