Day 2: another good day's work from Loeb/Elena The second leg of the 2008 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse saw Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and their Citroen C4 WRC produce the same sort of dominating form as yesterday to complete Saturday's ...
Day 2: another good day's work from Loeb/Elena
The second leg of the 2008 Rallye de France-Tour de Corse saw Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and their Citroen C4 WRC produce the same sort of dominating form as yesterday to complete Saturday's action on top of the leaderboard. The four-time World Champions profited from the leg to take their score to 11 consecutive fastest stage times and pull even further clear of their chasers, putting themselves in a strong position going into the final day tomorrow.
Following the recovery of Dani Sordo's C4 WRC, which went off the road on SS3, the FIA scrutineers made a thorough inspection of the car yesterday evening in Ajaccio. They deemed that a safety-related component situated at its front-left corner had been damaged in the accident and did not authorise the Spanish Citroen crew to re-join the event today under the SupeRally ruling.
The programme of the second leg comprised 122.84km of competitive action, making it the longest of the weekend. The day's three stages contested twice each took crews to the Gravona (SS7/10) and Cinarca (SS8/11, and SS9/12) valleys north of Ajaccio, with the same loop contested once in the morning and again in the afternoon. As predicted by the specialist from Citroen's technical partner Meteo France Sports, the sun stayed out all day and competitors profited from practically summer-like temperatures.
"Despite our overnight lead, I don't want to lift too much today," reported Sebastien Loeb on his return to Ajaccio for the lunchtime service halt. "The terrain is twistier, narrower and bumpier, and the asphalt is more abrasive. There were a few damp portions, too, but our gravel note crew had them clearly marked. I tried to keep to the same sort of pace as yesterday and that was probably the best way to stay concentrated. I have every confidence in my car and that means I was able to drive quickly without pushing it to its limits. It also means our lead is bigger right now, although we should be able to start taking things a little easier this afternoon."
Despite these words, Seb and Daniel continued their dominating run over the second loop to claim two further fastest times and round off the day with a cushion of 52.4 seconds. "The hotter temperatures meant that the tyre factor was more important this afternoon," continued the provisional leader. "On the long 25.17km stage, SS11, it was important not to push our tyres too hard to make sure they didn't get too hot and lose their edge. The other stages, SS10 and SS12, were shorter, though, and we were able to go a little faster on those two tests. I would obviously prefer it if we had a fight on our hands but we mustn't lose sight of the fact that a good result here would do our chances in both championships a world of good, and we intend to do everything we can to stay on top tomorrow..."
"Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena produced another polished performance today, picking up five more stage wins," concluded Olivier Quesnel, visibly pleased. "They didn't make any mistakes and looked after their car and tyres impeccably. That approach has taken them even further clear of their pursuers and they are in an ideal position going into the final day. Seb and Daniel have once again demonstrated the competitiveness and ability of the C4 WRC on asphalt, but we can't afford to take our eye off the ball. Tomorrow's leg is very long, with more than 116km of competitive action and some notoriously treacherous stages still to come..."