The Citroen C4 to compete below sea level For the first time in WRC history, the fifth round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship takes world class rallying to Jordan where Citroen has entered C4 WRCs for Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani...
The Citroen C4 to compete below sea level
For the first time in WRC history, the fifth round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship takes world class rallying to Jordan where Citroen has entered C4 WRCs for Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti. Two privately- entered C4s, run by PH-Sport with the support of technicians from Citroen Sport Technologies, will also make the trip for Conrad Rautenbach/David Senior and Urmo Aava/Kuldar Sikk.
After being a candidate event for some years, the Middle East fixture is one of the main new features of the 2008 calendar. Its compact route, which totals just 983.44km, is in perfect keeping with WRC norms and is divided into three legs, with 11 stages to be contested twice each for a total competitive distance of 359.26km. The principal singularity of this event, which takes crews to the shores of the Dead Sea and valley of the Jordan River, is that much of it takes place below sea level.
"There are always unknowns whenever you contest a rally for the first time," says Citroen Sport's Technical Manager Xavier Mestelan-Pinon. "The last two new events, in Portugal and Ireland, went quite well for us, but I mustn't forget Norway! Testing is not permitted in Jordan, so we tried to prepare for this rally using the information at hand, which was that the gravel stages are essentially wide smooth and drop to as low as 400 metres below sea level. We can also expect high temperatures and possibly sand storms. Based on all this, we have come up with a basic set-up which we will fine-tune following the observations of our crews after recce."
"I have rarely turned up for the start of a WRC round with more experience of the event than most of my rivals," observes Dani Sordo who was in Jordan to recce the 2007 event. "The stages tend to be fast and wide, with a surface that's as hard as concrete but which shouldn't cut up too much after the first loop. I think the pace will be quick but we will have to watch out for the top coating of loose gravel which will produce changes in grip. It will be unwise to stray off the ideal line, while going off isn't an option because of the deep ditches! We will aim for a podium finish."
"We don't know much about the Jordan Rally, so I will be on my guard a little bit," predicts Sebastien Loeb. "It doesn't appear to be too tough on the cars, but running first on the road will be a handicap. I am told there are similarities with Mexico, and the C4 WRC was competitive there, so that's very encouraging. Our objective will be to win with a view to increasing our lead in the Drivers' championship and enabling Citroen to stay in the fight for top spot in the Manufacturers' standings. If Daniel and I can pull that off, it will be our 40th WRC win. That's not something I'm particularly obsessed about, but it would make a nice, round figure!"