A good start for Ogier and Räikkönen
After the first day
The Citroën Junior Team is second at the end of the opening day of the Jordan Rally, thanks to the C4 WRC of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström also overcame the first day’s challenges to end up in the top 10 overall.
The opening day’s action was the shortest of the entire rally with 95.70 competitive kilometres, and it provided competitors on the Jordan Rally with a good taste of what was to follow. But no driver was aiming to open up a gap, and neither did anybody want to inherit first place overnight because of the ‘road sweeper’ role that it would entail for day two.
From the first few kilometres, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia adopted a careful pace. “Maybe I was a bit too careful on the second stage,” said Ogier, who is currently third overall in the World Rally Championship standings. “Nobody is going at their hardest. There’s nothing to win today; it’s just a question of avoiding all the various traps and finding a good position for the rest of the rally.”
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström continued their learning curve on roads that were particularly challenging, aiming to accumulate more experience in the car. “The start of the day was quite interesting but we are still here,” said Kimi. “We hit a rock and had a half spin. On a rally that is so specialised, it’s really important to cover all the stages.”
During midday service, the Citroën Junior Team changed the settings on the C4 WRC driven by the Finnish crew to make it easier to drive on the rock-strewn surface. “We saw how important it was to have experience on these roads” added Kimi. “ It was better in the afternoon and our times improved. Now we have to carry on like this over the next couple of days.”
Sébastien Ogier was fourth after the opening special stage and he held onto the place right up to the start of the final stage. The Frenchman finished the test without slowing down – unlike several other drivers – and inherited second place overall. “Our aim was to stay in front of Sebastien Loeb this evening,” he said. “We didn’t take many risks and everybody was just watching everyone else. Tomorrow, we’re going to do everything we can to stay at the front.”
Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded : “Our goal was to maintain the form we showed in Mexico. Sébastien is continuing at his pace while keeping a comfortable safety margin. Tonight he’s second, not so far behind Latvala and just in front of Loeb. We didn’t operate any particular strategy. Kimi’s objective is to finish the rally without making mistakes. It’s important for him to gain experience. The Jordan Rally is a tricky event and our feeling for it is just beginning to come now. We simply need time. At the end of the first day, I’m very happy. ”
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