WRC

Rally New Zealand: Citroen leg one summary

Tonight the Xsaras of Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti returned to the Auckland Parc ferme lying in fifth and seventh positions respectively. Both Citroën drivers are determined to improve these very encouraging results ...

Tonight the Xsaras of Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Carlos Sainz/Marc Marti returned to the Auckland Parc ferme lying in fifth and seventh positions respectively. Both Citroën drivers are determined to improve these very encouraging results during the two remaining legs.

The New Zealand round of the FIA World Rally Championship follows a new format called "Mille Pistes", which is being used for the first time on a world event. Competitors started last night by completing the Super special stage at Manukau with their cars running two by two. The two Xsaras left Auckland very early to drive to Paparoa service park where the crews "jumped" in their recce cars to complete the rest of the first leg's reconnaissances, according to the Mille Pistes regulations.

Today's roads started damp as it had rained overnight. Championship leader Sebastien Loeb believed these conditions would help him despite having to run first on the road but he still acted as a sweeper for those following when he drove competitively through the stage two hours later on drier roads.

Carlos Sainz started further down the running order but experienced brake problems on that loop,and wasn't 100% satisfied with his set-up on that fast terrain. The second run through the stages gave a better indication of the car's potential. On stage 7 "Possum", Sebastien set the third fastest time, only eight seconds from the best performance, and Carlos the fifth, despite shoulder pain after a mountain bike fall ten days ago. These were encouraging results for the team as they continue to finetune settings.

"I found my car is turning a bit too easily with the set-up I used, explained Seb. As a consequence I'm cautious in corners not to put the back of the car in the gravel on the sides of the road. I am not using the full potential of the car. I'm sure this will be solved tomorrow morning at the first service"

For Carlos Sainz, "the changes made after the first loop went in the right direction but maybe not far enough yet. We still have small things to improve and I believe we have solved the brake problems by changing a few parts tonight.".

-citroen-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Sébastien Loeb
Teams Citroën World Rally Team