A tasty antipasti for Citroen's Loeb and Sordo Citroen Total produced an assertive start to the 2008 Rally d'Italia Sardegna, with its two cars putting in a superb run to end the day in the first two places at the top of this ...
A tasty antipasti for Citroen's Loeb and Sordo
Citroen Total produced an assertive start to the 2008 Rally d'Italia Sardegna, with its two cars putting in a superb run to end the day in the first two places at the top of this evening's leaderboard. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena are the overnight leaders ahead of team- mates Dani Sordo/Marc Marti.
Following Thursday evening's ceremonial start at Porto Cervo's Marina Vecchia, serious business began today with a loop of three stages to be contested twice for a total of 131.56km of competitive action.
"Looking at tonight's leaderboard, I am delighted with the work put in by everyone at Citroen Sport," smiled Olivier Quesnel. "The speed of both our crews confirms what we saw in Jordan, and the work of our technical staff to adapt the C4 to its Pirelli tyres has borne fruit. Sebastien and Daniel took command on SS2 before managing their lead from in front, and their overnight advantage is an encouraging sign for the rest of the weekend. Dani and Marc followed up their recent performance in Jordan with a great day, too. Although our two cars are in the lead, nothing is by any means over yet. There are still two tough days to come.
"I am also pleased with today's runs from the two crews competing in privately-entered Citroen C4 WRCs run by PH Sport with support from Citroen Sport Technologies technicians," added the Citroen team boss. "Urmo Aava has managed to keep up the momentum of his strong display in Jordan and is 9th tonight, while Conrad Rautenbach who is 12th is improving all the time at the wheel of his car."
Sebastien Loeb, who was second on the road all day, wasn't the first driver to face the task of sweeping aside the loose top-coating of gravel, but he didn't benefit from ideal conditions, which explains why he was a little slow off the mark on SS1. His times then improved, however. "There were a few damp portions and some standing water on Terranova (SS3), but the recent heavy rain didn't have any big effect on the state of the stages," observed the reigning World Champion at tonight's service halt. "The island's dirt roads are as narrow and slippery as ever, and there was a bit of 'road-sweeping' to do. I am happy with the way our weekend has started. I have an excellent feeling with the car which responds exactly the way I like. Its handling is very precise and effective in all the different types of the conditions. We currently have a cushion of 53.8s over our closest chaser and that's a good way to go into the second day, but it isn't enough to consider that victory is in the bag."
"I am not all that fond of this rally, so it's nice to be in second place tonight," quipped Dani Sordo in this evening's interview zone. "Seriously, though, I am very happy with the way our day has gone. I suffered a bit from understeer on the first two stages but a change in the settings gave us more confidence for the rest of the day. I very much enjoyed driving my C4. As always in Sardinia, the conditions weren't easy, including some tricky sandy sections and numerous rocks on the road. We came through today's pitfalls but there's still a long way to go before Sunday's finish..."