Loeb makes it five from five in Argentina
- 27th April 2009, 10:08am
A perfectly-paced display from the CitroÃ«n Total World Rally Team on the 2009 Rally Argentina has produced another one-two finish for the French squad, while the faultless drive of SÃ©bastien Loeb and Daniel Elena has taken their personal score to five straight wins on the South American round. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti finished in their team-matesâ€™ wake to move into second place in the provisional Driversâ€™ World Championship standings.
Following two long legs on Friday and Saturday, survivors faced a much shorter programme today. The last dayâ€™s 48 kilometres of competitive action were divided into four different stages, plus a third visit to the super-special in Cordoba Stadium. However, with no chance to service their cars between stages, the majority of the field preferred to take a cautious approach.
"Itâ€™s a bit of a shame to have to drive defensively because todayâ€™s stages are really nice," observed SÃ©bastien Loeb. "There are quite a few jumps which are fun when youâ€™re pushing hard, but we will need to stay fully focused if we want to secure our fifth win here in Argentinaâ€¦"
Despite their risk-free approach, SÃ©bastien Loeb and Dani Sordo monopolised the top of the timesheets on each of the first two stages. After losing ground early on because of technical trouble, Jari-Matti Latvala responded to claim the next two tests, just tenths of a second clear of the CitroÃ«n duo. SÃ©bastien and Dani rounded off the weekend in style by securing one last one-two result for their team in front of a packed-house crowd at Cordoba Stadium.
After wrapping up their 52nd world class success, SÃ©bastien Loeb and Daniel Elena had a special thought for Carlos Sainz who took his own record to 26 WRC wins here in Argentina, in 2004, driving a Xsara WRC with Marc Marti sitting alongside.
"So much has happened since then," remembered SÃ©bastien as he savoured his success after the finish. "We were second behind Carlos and Marc that year. Since then, we havenâ€™t been beaten here in Argentina. Itâ€™s always nice to win this rally. This yearâ€™s event was difficult to begin with and we had to drive flat out until Saturday lunchtime. The situation then tipped in our favour when Mikko Hirvonen hit trouble and we were able to control from in front after that. That said, I tried to keep up a quick pace all the way to the finish because it can be so easy to make a mistake over a jump, or by clouting one of the countless rocks that line the stages here. Itâ€™s been a dream start to the season for us!"
Dani Sordo finished second overall to dislodge Mikko Hirvonen from second place by one point in the chase for the Driversâ€™ title: "I felt comfortable throughout the weekend. This is our second one-two finish of the year and itâ€™s a great result for the whole team. My intention now is to defend my second place in the championshipâ€¦"
"This rally gave everyone in the team a chance to shine," notes CitroÃ«n Racing Director Olivier Quesnel. "This event is particularly tough on the mechanicals, but both our C4 WRCs proved perfectly reliable and they took it all in our stride. In addition to the strength of our cars, SÃ©bastien and Dani drove with their head and put in a great performance to claim 15 fastest times from 23. They didnâ€™t make any mistakes and they both succeeded in turning on the speed when they had to. We fully deserved todayâ€™s one-two result."
Results: Rally Argentina
1. Sebastien Loeb, Citroen
2. Dani Sordo, Citroen +1.13,1
3. Henning Solberg, Ford +4.04,1
4. Federico Villagra, Ford +5.59,7
5. Matthew Wilson, Ford +6.10,9
6. Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford +9.50,0
7. Al-Attiyah, Subaru +23.11,6
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