Battle in the desert for the Citroën C4 WRCs

Jordan Rally WRC preview

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By z.Marie-Lyse Trebuc

26 March 2010 - 14:55
Battle in the desert for the Citroën (...)

After Sweden and Mexico, the WRC heads for Jordan for a rally that will be yet another complete change of scenery! In the Middle East, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, the world championship leaders after their victory in Latin America, will be aiming for their 56th success. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti, who finished second in this event in 2008, will be out to help the Citroën Total World Rally Team to score a good overall result.

The Rally Jordan, first run two years ago, is back on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar. The event, which takes place in grandiose semi-desert landscapes, is quite unlike any other. The route is a very compact one made up of quick undulating specials, most of which are below sea level.

As usual in the WRC, it will be held over three loops programmed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Sébastien Loeb, whose aim (victory) hasn’t changed, is very much at home on this kind of surface: “We dominated in Mexico but we can’t relax as I know that our rivals will be back at their very best next weekend. Another victory would obviously be a big boost for us and for Citroën; it’s not going to be an easy rally. The stages take place right in the middle of the desert; there are no markers and we’re often running blind, so it’s easy to hit one of the big rocks that line the route. We have to be very precise when we’re making notes."

Dani Sordo is a driver to be reckoned with in this rally. The Spaniard was second in the 2008 event and he is tackling the third round of the season with great determination: “Our results in Sweden and Mexico were not in keeping with our potential. What’s very positive is that we’ll be seventh on the road in Jordan. On Friday, we’ll have the advantage of a route that’s been well swept by the front-runners. A podium finish would be a good result for Mark and me.”

As on the majority of gravel rallies, road-sweeping will again be at the heart of the drivers’ and teams’ preoccupations. “The earth on the Rally Jordan stages is very hard. It’s covered by a layer of little pebbles whose thickness can vary depending on what the organisers have done,” adds Loeb. “We know that there have been violent storms that have damaged the roads. They’ve been repaired but we’ll have to see if this factor will have any influence on the outcome. In any case, second time round through the stages, we’ll have a grip level very like asphalt.”

To prepare for Rally Jordan and Rally Turkey, Citroën Racing has carried out a test in the south of Spain, which gave the team the opportunity to run through the range of set-ups available for this type of surface. “The C4 WRC’s development has reached its peak and we’re not expecting any major evolutions, but this test was indispensable,” explains Sordo. “The overall level of competition is so close that a small detail can make the difference between defeat and victory. We fine-tune the set-up to the maximum by making small adjustments.”

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