Loeb and CitroÃ«n in the lead SÃ©bastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Xsara WRC are leading the rally of Turkey tonight after the first leg of competition. Their team-mates Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti lie in fourth, completing an excellent day...
Loeb and Citroën in the lead
Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena and their Xsara WRC are leading the rally of Turkey tonight after the first leg of competition. Their team-mates Carlos Sainz and Marc Marti lie in fourth, completing an excellent day for the Citroën team.
On gravel events, starting first on the road will always penalise the crew. The first driver acts as a road sweeper for those following him. As an example of this, Sébastien conceded 1 mn and 21 seconds at the end of day 1 on the Acropolis Rally earlier this month.
For this reason, the young Frenchman was praying for rain to compact the road surface. His wish came true on Wednesday and Thursday this week when heavy showers fell in the Kemer area. When Sébastien took the start of the first two tests of "Phaselis" and "Silyon" the roads were damp with a thin layer of dried mud on the road surface. So on this occasion, opening the road was giving him an advantage.
In addition to that, the Citroën team made an excellent tyre choice for the first loop, with the Michelin Z type - soft compound. Seb' won these two stages and took the rally lead. Carlos, who was starting sixth on the road, experienced more difficult road conditions. When he returned to the Kemer service park, his Xsara weighed 30 kilos more than his team-mate's. However the Spaniard benefited from his good tyre choice and after stage 3, he was lying fourth.
The sun continued to dry out the special stages. On the second loop, the conditions came back to the "known format" : Seb acted as a sweeper again, but fought hard to lose as little time as possible. Carlos had cleaner roads and won stage 5. He finished a good day with a second fastest time in the Antalya Super stage.
"To be leading tonight is far better than what I expected", concluded Seb. "I am in a good position for tomorrow, but I'm sure it will tough as Marcus Grönholm is very close. I will have to push... "
"I had the opposite day in comparison to Sébastien", explained Carlos. "For me the first two stages were the toughest, and then the conditions got better for me after that I have close rivals in front and behind me, and I will have to fight tomorrow. "