56th WRC victory for Sebastien Loeb
- 4th April 2010, 7:53am
The Franco-Monegasque pair’s 56th victory has helped them to open up a big gap in the Drivers’ World Championship classification. Thanks to Dani Sordo’s and Marc Marti’s fourth place, the Citroën Total World Rally Team has taken the lead in the Manufacturers’ title chase.
With two runs through a 4-stage loop, the final leg of Rally Jordan looked as difficult as those of the previous days. Sébastien Loeb led the overall classification with 27s in hand over Jari-Matti Latvala, but he was not first on the road. “We asked Sébastien Ogier to check in early to sweep the road,” explained Olivier Quesnel, the Citroën Racing team principal.
“We had a technical problem with his car in the service park, which dashed his hopes of a podium. We reckoned that this strategy would give Sébastien Loeb a better chance of defending his first place.”
Loeb banged in three quickest times in four stages and confirmed that he was the fastest driver in the rally. When the 6-time world champion arrived back in the service park beside the Dead Sea, he was feeling pretty happy about the final stages: “For sure, the team’ strategy made things a bit easier for me, but I’m not sure I really needed it. Despite a position that was not as favourable as Jari-Matti’s, we were able to open up the gap a bit more. Now, we’ll just have to watch out and avoid the traps of the second part to win the rally.”
Dani Sordo, who was running fourth behind Loeb, Latvala and Solberg, knew exactly what was expected of him – hang on to his position to score points for the Manufacturers’ World Championship. “We’re in pussy-footing mode this morning,” joked the Spanish driver. “It’s not easy as there are still plenty of traps on the stages. As Petter Solberg isn’t scoring points for the manufacturers’ title and the fifth car is way behind us, we don’t have to push. We’ll continue like that till the end.”
As the gaps were fairly big, there was no final twist in the last 4 stages. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena scored their 56th victory (twenty-first different rally). “I’m delighted to have won such a tough rally,” smiled Seb before going up onto the podium. “Our second victory in three events has helped us to open up a twenty-five point gap, the equivalent of a victory, over the second-paced driver. We can now tackle the next rally in a reasonably relaxed frame of mind.”
Thanks to Dani Sordo’s and Marc Marti’s fourth place, the Citroën Total World Rally Team has taken the lead in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. Frédéric Banzet, the make’s general manager, who was there to cheer on the Citroën crews, underlined the performance of the C4 WRCs in this rally: “Our cars had to cope with particularly difficult road conditions in hot weather, and they again showed bullet-proofreliability. Our crews combined speed and intelligence to give Citroën a status-enhancing result.”
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