A Mexican hat-trick for Loeb/Elena and Citroen
The final day of the 2008 World Rally Championship saw Sebastien Loeb
, Daniel Elena and Citroen collect their third consecutive Rally Mexico win. Their hat-trick in the land of sombreros takes them to within a single point
of the provisional Drivers' championship leader, while Citroen has made up a little of its deficit in the Manufacturers' classification.
"The last day featured a little more than 60km of competitive action divided into three stages, plus a final attempt at the super-special in Leon," commented Sebastien Loeb
. "Despite our overnight lead, we approached today's leg cautiously because of the risks inherent in being first on the road, like having to sweep a clear line, punctures, etc." Despite their apprehension, the World Champions came through the day unscathed and the cancellation of the day's longest test (SS18) for safety reasons didn't upset them unduly. Today's result marks the 38th world class win for Sebastien and Daniel who were given a heroes' welcome by everyone at Citroen Sport on their return to the Poliforum service park.
"I'm delighted to have won here," beamed Seb as he stepped off the podium. "Following our blank scorecard in Sweden, it was important to try to bounce back straight away. It wasn't easy and, as often seems to be the case in Mexico, we had a troubled start, but the rest of the event went very well for us! It's the sort of victory I like because it came after a good fight. Marcus Gronholm
's absence has already been filled by another Finn who is younger and just as determined. I think we can look forward to some good scraps this year, and that's fine by me! For this weekend's hard-packed stages, Pirelli took the safe choice with a very hard compound in a bid to ward off punctures. We effectively didn't suffer any, but we had to adjust our set-up to improve traction. The team responded well and our times here with the C4 WRC are an encouraging pointer for the rest of the year."
Dani Sordo and Marc Marti posted some excellent times, too, to finish 17th overall with their Citroen C4. "Once we had put the first day's disappointment behind us, my main concern was to find the ideal set-up. After feeling as comfortable as I did in Sweden, the season's first gravel rally was another encouraging sign for the remainder of the season."
"Today's win is a great reward for everyone at Citroen Sport and everybody kept their eye on the ball throughout," concluded Olivier Quesnel. "We reacted well to match the set-up of the C4 so well to the specific characteristics of the Mexican stages and produce such a highly competitive package. Sebastien and Daniel have closed to within a point of the current Drivers' championship leader and Citroen has stabilised the gap in the Manufacturers' standings. Sebastien Loeb
's performance at the sharp end of the leaderboard was mirrored by the first class run of Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia in the FIA Junior WRC with their Citroen C2 Super 1600. The Equipe de France FFSA-backed driver won his first world class outing which really is something of an achievement."