The end of an era for the Citroën Junior Team
Wales Rally GB - Preview
With the new World Rally Car regulations coming in for next year, the Citroën C4 WRC will end its career on the Rally Great Britain, the final round of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship. Dani Sordo/Diego Vallejo and Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj Lindström will represent the Citroën Junior Team, with the aim of sealing third place in the manufacturers’ championship.
Rally Great Britain is the 13th round of the year and one of the iconic events of the World Rally Championship. It traditionally rounds off the season, although this year both the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ titles have already been decided. But the Citroën Junior Team is still aiming to secure third place in the manufacturers’ title race (which has already been won by the Citroën Total World Rally Team*) while both Dani Sordo and Kimi Räikkönen have the chance to improve their final position in the drivers’ rankings.
Dani Sordo heads into the final rally of the year lying fifth in the championship, having taken five podiums from the last seven events, and the Spaniard is hoping for a strong finish to the season. “This is a particularly difficult rally, but I’ve manage to set some good times there in the past,” he pointed out. “This year, I want to be right in the fight for victory.”
Sordo has ended up with two podiums from his last two participations in the Rally Great Britain. “The weather conditions will play a big part,” he added. “If the roads stay dry, this is going to be an extremely fast rally. If it rains though, the stages will rapidly turn into mud and it will become the most slippery event of the year. We need to get off to a good start, as I’m sure that the pace will be quick from the very beginning. Everyone wants to win the last rally of the year.”
Having scored 21 points, Kimi Räikkönen is currently 10th in the World Championship following the 10 rallies that he has taken part in. The Finn will be back on gravel in Wales: a surface on which he scored points in Jordan, Turkey and Portugal.
“We knew that our first learning year would be a bit like this,” pointed out Kimi. “Like any driver starting off in a completely new discipline that is as specialised as rallying, I’ve had my ups and downs. I imagine that Wales will be no different. We’re going to work hard during the recce. We need to make sure that we set off at a decent pace and then gradually reduce the gap to the frontrunners as the rally goes on. Our rivals will have more experience than us on these roads, although Kaj knows some of the stages. If that means that we can keep making the pace notes in the same way as before, it’s definitely a small bonus.”
The rally route has changed slightly compared to last year. A new superspecial stage (Cardiff Bay) will kick off the action on Thursday night. The first day is a repeat of 2009. But the second day returns to some older stages such as Radnor Forest, which was last used in 1999. On the final day, the Resolfen and Margam Park stages are also slightly modified.
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