Citroen Junior Team shines in the snow
Driving the two Citroen C4 WRCs entered by the Citroen Junior Team, Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia and Kimi Raikkonen
/ Kaj Lindstrom showed off their talents on the Rally Sweden, round one of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship.
The French crew finished fifth on their first participation in Sweden, while the Finnish duo successfully got to the end of their debut World Championship event at the wheel of the C4 WRC.
The long third and final day of the Rally Sweden got underway at 05:35. Having arrived at the Hagfors service park from Karlstad, the crews then headed off for five special stages in the north-east of the Varmland province.
Having secured fifth place right from the beginning on SS2, Sebastien Ogier continued his progress while taking care to avoid mistakes. Placed about a minute behind Dani Sordo in fourth and with more than a minute's cushion over Henning Solberg in sixth, the Frenchman only had to get to the end of the rally to score his first 10 points of the season. It was an exceptional performance on what was just the second snow rally of his career.
Ogier said: "This is a great result to start the season with. I'd like to thank the entire team, which has done an exceptional job. The first day of the rally went perfectly for us and we quickly got up to a good pace. Afterwards, we just needed to look after our end result. The initial objective was simply to be there at the finish in order to accumulate experience on what was a brand new rally for us. As it is, this fifth place is a result that gives us plenty of confidence for the rest of the season. Now we need to continue making progress, starting from the next round in Mexico." Kimi Raikkonen
began the day 11th on the road at the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC. "We've made a progress during this event," commented the former F1 World Champion. "It was important for our experience to finish this first rally of our WRC season. We lost a bit of time with the snowbanks but the main thing was to get through all the special stages. We always knew that Sweden was never going to be an easy rally for us to start the season with. But now we are able to prepare for the next event. I haven't driven the Citroen C4 WRC on gravel yet, but I hope that we can be more consistent in Mexico."
Benoit Nogier, the Citroen
Junior Team manager, commented: "Kimi has made a remarkable start on his first World Championship event with us. We stuck completely to the plan that we had set out beforehand. Kimi got progressively quicker, but also remained calm in the face of all the new things that he had to learn. As for Sebastien Ogier, he displayed all the qualities that he showed at the end of last year and we could not hope for better. He has ended up fifth on his very first Rally Sweden, having avoided making any mistakes. We cannot be anything but extremely satisfied with his performance.
Throughout the whole rally, the cars did not display a single issue and that is always a very good sign of a great weekend! From start to finish, our cars and drivers have displayed a truly front-running performance."