The two Sébastiens close the gaps

Good feeling this morning

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By Franck Drui

28 May 2011 - 18:16
The two Sébastiens close the gaps

Sébastien Ogier, and then Sébastien Loeb on three occasions, set the quickest times on the second morning of Rally Argentina. The two Citroën Total World Rally Team drivers were the fastest in the four stages, and have closed the gap to their rivals in the overall classification.

Sébastien Ogier started the morning in third place and got the better of Petter Solberg by the end of the Las Jarillas-Falda de Carmen (SS8) stage with its asphalt section. The Citroën driver continued to whittle down the gap to Jari-Matti Latvala on the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita route, and finished the loop 17.8s behind the leader.

Sébastien Loeb left the service park with tyres that were already worn. The seven-time world champion was not really in his element in the first stage and lost time. Then with new rubber he banged in three fastest times on the trot and pulled back over 30 seconds on the leader.

Sébastien Ogier: “I was feeling good this morning. It was our first time on these stages in the rally. Even if we had to do a lot of correcting of our notes we were able to push to get nearer Latvala. We’re going to try and keep up the same pace this afternoon to reduce the gap even further, and also to be in a good position at the start of the last day.”

Sébastien Loeb: “We opted for a different strategy to the other crews this morning by starting the first stage on worn tyres. It wasn’t really the right choice. The car suffered from terrible understeer in these conditions. Luckily we were able to close the gap after that. The plot is to continue to keep going flat out to pull back more time. My chances of victory look pretty slim, but sweeping may make the second passage more difficult. We’re just looking ahead and we’ll learn a lot more in the next loop.”

After 30 minutes’ service, the crews will set off for the South for the second passage through the same four stages, some 79,83 times kilometers.

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