Citroen look for podium lock-out in Spain
Spanish driver Dani Sordo was the big mover on the second leg of Rally de Espana, Dani Sordo, but it was his Citroen teammate Sebastien Loeb who remained in control up front.
Sordo won the first of the afternoon stages and was just a tenth of a second slower than the seven-time World Champion to move into third place ahead of Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala.
“It’s been a great day and we have a good lead,” said Loeb. “We’ve had some fun in the stages but we’re not taking any big risks.”
44 seconds behind, Petter Solberg is content to finish second. The privateer Citroen driver ended Saturday on a high by winning the final televised stage.
“I’m not kidding myself,” said Solberg. “Second place is the best I can hope for here and actually if we do that it will be a very good achievement. But we have to keep trying, so I’ll be pushing until the very last stage. You never, ever give up.”
A bigger concern for Solberg is Sordo, who is aiming to finish second behind Loeb to continue the Citroen team’s record of a 1-2 on the Catalunya Rally since 2006. Sordo is set to attack as he has pressure from Latvala.
But the situation was far worse for his team mate Mikko Hirvonen, who dropped time when a turbo pipe on his Ford Focus detached itself on the opening stage of the afternoon loop. The Finn lost more than 10 minutes on the 26-kilometre stage and held up Dani Sordo in the process, who reminded Hirvonen he was there with a timely tap up the rear bumper of the Focus.
“I didn’t see him there and I’m sorry for that,” said Hirvonen. The Ford crew managed to reattach the loose pipe prior to the last two stages in order to keep fifth place, albeit a long way behind Latvala in fourth.
The two biggest losers of the day were Sebastien Ogier, who ruled himself out of contention after deranging the suspension of his Citroen C4 WRC, and Munchi’s driver Federico Villagra, who retired after a fanbelt problem caused the water temperature to rise on his Ford Focus. Villagra is expected to restart under the SupeRally system.
The final leg is the shortest of the weekend, but includes the longest test of the rally. The El Priorat stage is run twice and covers 42.04km, providing the bulk of the day’s competition
Check out the incident that ruined Sebastien Ogier’s rally
Day 2 : Rally De Espana
|1||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen C4 WRC||2:40:01.9|
|2||Petter Solberg||Citroen C4 WRC||+0:46.9|
|3||Dani Sordo||Citroen C4 WRC||+1:00.8|
|4||Jari-Matti Latvala||Ford Focus RS WRC||+1:06.2|
|5||Mikko Hirvonen||Ford Focus RS WRC||+6:03.7|
|6||Matthew Wilson||Ford Focus RS WRC||+6:06.6|
|7||Frigyes Turan||Ford Focus RS WRC||+7:23.9|
|8||Henning Solberg||Ford Focus RS WRC||+9:16.5|
|9||Khalid Al Qassimi||Ford Focus RS WRC||+9:27.3|
|10||Ken Block||Ford Focus RS WRC||+12:40.2|