The Citroen DS3 WRCs in hot pursuit
On the second day of Rally Sweden the snow was replaced by icy conditions. In temperatures reaching -26tho.C, the Citroen Total World Rally Team crews moved up the overall classification. Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will start the final day of the rally in fifth place, less than fifteen seconds behind the leaders. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena ended the day in sixth spot.
Sebastien Ogier, who started from sixth place on the second day of the event, quickly got past Henning Solberg and closed the gap to the front-runners. After losing 1m 21s yesterday, the Citroen driver began a stunning comeback with a remarkable string of performances. In Fredriksberg 2 (SS14) he set another fastest time. "I really felt good in my Citroen DS3 WRC. I was able to go quickly without taking any additional risks," he confirmed when he returned to the evening service park. "We had the right strategy this afternoon by putting on our two spare wheels after the second stage."
Ogier was the quickest driver in the loop and he will start the final day in fifth place, only fifteen seconds behind the leaders! "There's still everything to play for, but I'm not going to get overexcited about it. It's not because I've closed the gap to the leaders that I'm going to start taking risks. It's very easy to go beyond one's limits on snow. My aim's still to bag the biggest possible haul of points for the championship."
After losing a lot of time opening the roads on the first day, Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena began the loop with the fastest time in Lesjofors 1 (SS8). "Then we punctured and again I don't know why," sighed the 7- time world champion. "I felt there was a problem on the right-hand rear end after a compression. I thought it was suspension failure, but it turned out to be a puncture."
More than three minutes behind, and with no real adversary in sight, the reigning world champion's only aim is to see the flag: "I've just got to finish and score a few points. We'll also take advantage of the remaining kilometers to work on the car's setup."
Olivier Quesnel, the Citroen Racing Team Principal, had a happy smile on his face as he looked at the time sheets : "After a very difficult first day, especially because of hostile conditions, the Citroen DS3 WRCs proved their potential today with a great string of fastest times. Sebastien Ogier is very well placed before the final leg. But there's still a long way to go. It's up to him to drive his own race depending on how he feels: he knows what he's got to do."
The two DS3 WRCs prepared by Citroen Racing Technologies also gained ground today. Petter Solberg finished the leg less than ten seconds behind the leaders after setting two fastest times. Kimi Raikkonen reeled off three stages in the top five and is now in seventh place.
With five crews separated by under fifteen seconds, the final day consisting of six stages 92,26th timed kilometers - promises to be a thrilling one. In the unique Power Stage (Gustavsfors 2), shown live on TV in several countries the first three will score 3, points, 2 points and 1 point in the Drivers' and Co-drivers' classifications.