A Very Snowy Opening Morning For The Citroen DS3 WRCS
After a very short 1,90-km timed stage yesterday in Karlstad, Rally Sweden continued today with Vargasen, Likenas, and the Lovhaugen stage, a newcomer to the event run on either side of the Norwegian border.
A strong wind lashed the Hagfors airport this morning when the WRC cars arrived at the morning service halt. In Vargasen, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena opened the road in extremely difficult conditions.
"There was a lot of fresh snow," said the reigning world championship at the end. "I was doing my bit as a snow plough, and I know I'm going to lose a lot of time throughout the day! There's not much I can do apart from keeping the car between the walls."
Loeb and Elena set the seventh, then the ninth and finally the thirteenth-quickest times losing a great deal of ground to the leader: "You could say it's almost undriveable. There's absolutely no grip as the tyres can't get their studs into the ice under the snow. I hope the roads will have less snow this afternoon, but I'm afraid that we'll continue to lose big chunks of time during the second passage through the stages."
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia set off in fourth place and they found a little more grip:"We've still got a lot to learn with so much snow and so little grip. We're not taking too many risks as the conditions are very tricky. I felt more at ease in the second stage of the loop. It was a bit more complicated in the narrow sections, and I went straight on at a crossroads in Lovhaugen. We're losing time, so during the service halt we're going to adapt the Citroen DS3 WRC to this afternoon's conditions."
Norwegian Mads Ostberg, who's well used to snow and was helped by his starting position, is in first place after the fourth stage. Petter Solberg in a Citroen DS3 WRC prepared by Citroen Racing Technologies is currently lying third in the overall classification.
This morning's three stages will be covered again this afternoon, and the cars will arrive back in the Hagfors service park at 19h00.