New horizons for the Citroen Junior Team
Just 10 days after the finish of the Jordan Rally, the Citroen Junior Team goes to Turkey for the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Kimi Raikkonen
/Kaj Lindstrom will drive the two
Citroen C4 WRCs on this new event based close to Istanbul.
A few days after the Jordan Rally, the Citroen Junior Team embarks on one of the three brand new events scheduled for the 2010 season. Prior to Bulgaria and Alsace, the team will contest the all-new Rally Turkey, based in Pendik on the outskirts of Istanbul. The event will take place on two continents with a start ceremony outside the Hagia Sophia mosque and stages on the Asian side of the Bosphorus River.
In total, 12% of the 358.84 kilometres scheduled will be on asphalt. During the second day, the 18.17- kilometre Gocbeyli stage (SS10 and SS14) will feature 13.49 kilometres of asphalt. The final section of Bozhane (SS12 and SS16) is on asphalt as well, and parts of the Riva and Ballica stages are also run partly on sealed surfaces.
Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have consistently challenged the frontrunners since the start of the season, and showed their ability to be competitive on all sorts of different surfaces. On the Rally of Turkey, which is a new event for everyone, the 2008 Junior World Rally Champions will be able to fight on equal terms. "As was the case in Jordan, it's going to be important not to make any mistakes," said Sebastien. "This is a brand new rally for all the crews, so for the first time this year we start on a level playing field against the other WRC drivers. The recce will be extremely important. We're going to try and fight with the leaders on this event just as we did in Sweden, Mexico and Jordan. The whole team has done a great job since the start of the season, which our good results have proved."Kimi Raikkonen
and Kaj Lindstrom scored their first WRC points in Jordan by finishing eighth overall. "It was important to get to the finish of this particularly difficult event," said the former Grand Prix champion. "It was only my eighth-ever rally, but also the most difficult one I have seen so far."
In Turkey, the Finnish crew will face another totally new route and surface. "I've no real idea of what to expect from the stages in Turkey," added Kimi. "We're going to need to do a lot of work during the recce in order to start off the rally well. Our goal is to be at the finish again, and to gradually reduce the gap to the other WRC drivers."
Three questions to... Kimi Raikkonen
You scored your first World Rally Championship points in Jordan. Was that the first mission accomplished for this season?
"My only aim on my third WRC event with the C4 was just to reach the finish in Jordan. We saw particularly difficult road conditions with very specialised stages, which were extremely slippery and had very few reference points. The first day was definitely the hardest one I have ever contested throughout my short career in rallying. So I was really pleased to get through all these hazards and not to make any big mistakes. We weren't particularly quick but this is just a phase we have to go through in order to make progress."
How do you see your progress at the wheel of the Citroen C4 WRC?
"The terrain in Jordan was very difficult to Mexico. Over in Mexico, I felt quite confident. So I decided to push a little bit harder and then I went off. In Jordan, we decided to stay at a safe pace in order to be sure of getting to the finish. But I learn more about the Citroen C4 WRC and how to drive it with every kilometre. At the end of each stage, I have the feeling that I've learned a bit more. I'm beginning to feel more comfortable, and perhaps most importantly of all, I'm really enjoying myself in the WRC!"
Will the kilometres you covered in Jordan allow you to approach the Rally of Turkey with more confidence?
"Once more, we're going to be discovering a very different environment in Turkey. The experience is coming to us step by step, but each rally is new. Once more, the goal is to be there at the finish. We'll see where we are at after the start of the rally and if we get the chance, we will try to reduce the gap to the leaders a bit."