Citroën is determined to keep up its winning momentum!
Mexico, Portugal, Jordan, the Citroën DS3 WRCs have succeeded on gravel in the last three rounds of the World Rally Championship.
The Citroën Total World Rally Team crews are determined to keep up the winning momentum in Rally Italy-Sardinia, the fifth round of what has been a hotly-disputed world championship so far. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, leaders of the Drivers’ Championship and Sébastien Ogier and Julien
Ingrassia, who have won the last two rallies, have a number of aces up their sleeve!
Rally Italy was not on the 2010 calendar and it is back again this year with a few innovations. The nerve centre is still in Olbia on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, and the service park will be based in a new terminal, which has not yet been opened, in the Isola Bianca port. The route has also undergone a few modifications with the addition of stages around Oristano. The new layout is accompanied by the moving of the service park to Siamanna – in the centre of the island – on the first day of the event.
With over a third of the championship already run, the first four crews are covered by only eight points!
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who won in Mexico and have scored podium finishes in Portugal and Jordan, took the lead in the ‘Drivers’ rankings in the Middle East. The seven-time world champions are no strangers to this position, which forces them to open the road on Friday at the start of the 131,06 timed kilometers section.
“When you’re well placed in the championship you’re badly placed at the start of the following rally,” quips Loeb. “Being first certainly isn’t the most advantageous position. We won’t be masters of our destiny as the other crews will know our times and they can pace themselves accordingly.”
Loeb has already won in Sardinia three times so he has in-depth knowledge of the requirements of the
layout: “The event requires 100% concentration as it’s a very tricky route. Your notes have to be very
accurate and you have to drive very cleanly. We’ll see how and when the race begins to pan out but we have to be in the right group to be able to fight our corner till the end.”
Ogier, who is starting in third place on the first day, will be right in the thick of the victory contenders: “Some are better placed than us, others aren’t. Friday’s starting position is still an important parameter on gravel, but a rally lasts three days. At least five of us can win. Sometimes, victory can be won or lost because of a tiny detail or a tenth of a second.”
“There’s still a long way to go in the world championship and it’s not the right moment to start calculating,” points out Ogier. “Our aim is to win even if this forces us to open the road in the next rally. It’s a hotly contested season and every point’s important.”
After the starting ceremony on Thursday 5th May in Molo Brin, Rally Italy will start on Friday morning. At the end of 339,7 timed kilometers it will finish in the early afternoon on Sunday in Olbia.
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