Victory looks on the cards for Ogier and Citroën

"We really got back into the battle today"

By Franck Drui

29 May 2011 - 08:21
Victory looks on the cards for (...)

The crews of the Citroën Total World Rally Team set the eight fastest times on the second day of Rally Argentina showing yet again just how quick the DS3 WRC is! Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia imposed their rhythm and they will tackle the home straight with more than forty seconds in hand over their closest pursuers. Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who were the best performers, are now lying third, four seconds off second place.

On the second day of Rally Argentina, the crews went to Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, to the south of Villa Carlos Paz. The Citroën DS3 WRCs scored a clean sweep on roads that were quicker than yesterday but still just as sandy. Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb shared all the quickest times.

Ogier started the day in third place and he got the better of Petter Solberg in the first stage as he was quicker on the asphalt: “We were able to go quicker than those who started ahead of us. Behind, the drivers had to cope with trajectories that were already dirtied by gravel. We had to make the most of it.”

Sébastien Loeb lost time on this gravel early on in the morning: ”We tried a different strategy by putting on worn tyres for just the first stage. But the car was understeering badly in these conditions. There was a lot of dirt on the asphalt and I couldn’t get the car to grip properly.” When the seven-time world champion got back on gravel he quickly reversed things with the quickest times in the next three stages. In the afternoon, he continued his fight back with another two fastest times.

Despite the one-minute penalty they received yesterday, Loeb and Daniel Elena will start the final leg in third place 47.7s behind the leader and only 4 seconds off second place held by Mikko Hirvonen: “We really got back into the battle today. The result’s a lot more satisfactory than yesterday but we can still move up another place. Tomorrow we’re starting with the aim of overtaking Mikko. We’ll have to push hard in the long 48-km stage.”

At the same time, Ogier upped the pressure on the leader Jari-Matti Latvala, and then took first place in Las Bajadas / Villa del Dique 2 (SS13). The driver of the no. 2 Citroën DS3 WR was as incisive as ever and continued to push towards the end of the day to increase his lead. Tomorrow, he will start in first place with 43.7s in hand: “Even if I didn’t know today’s stages I felt confident as I liked their profile. I took advantage of them to push hard and race incidents played in our favour. On paper, we’ve got a big lead. We’ll have to remain concentrated right till the end and we know that the race isn’t won till we’re back in the parc fermé.”

Olivier Quesnel, the Citroën Racing Team Principal, was very satisfied with Saturday’s performances: “Sébastien Ogier again showed his ability to play a leading role despite his relative lack of experience. He didn’t make any mistakes and he now leads the rally with a comfortable advance over his pursuers. Sébastien Loeb, the yardstick in this rally had a perfect day. He’ll have to continue pushing tomorrow to gain a few extra points.”



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