A good start for Sordo and Loeb
The C4 WRCs dominated the first day of Rally Turkey, a positive start for the Citroen Total World Rally Team. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti, who are lying second behind Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, drove a steady intelligent race. Sebastien
Loeb and Daniel Elena who were slightly handicapped by being first out on the road, are currently in fifth place with two more days to close the gap to the front-runners.
The official start of the rally was given on Thursday in the late afternoon in the heart of Istanbul. After crossing the starting podium with the Blue Mosque in the background, the WRCs then went to the Asian continent to spend the night in the Pendik service park. This morning, the crews set off in blazing sunlight for the stages. The first day was the shortest of the rally with less than 100 timed kilometres. The route consisted of two runs through a loop of four stages followed by a super-special laid out in Kadikoy.Sebastien Loeb
was the first out on the road and set a searing pace finishing the first loop 7.8s behind the leader. "It's difficult to estimate how much of a role sweeping played in the gap between us and Sebastien Ogier, but I'm happy to be under ten seconds behind. We'll continue pushing hard this afternoon."
Sordo in second place was also very pleased with his start to the rally. "What makes me very happy is that I'm very much at home in the car. The stages are great, very fast and a bit less tough than we expected. I think everybody was very quick this morning, even if we can go faster on the stages as we get to know them in the race."
Dani kept up the same pace and held on to second place in the second loop. He also set the quickest time in Bozgoca 2 (SS7). Before the super-special, he was under three seconds behind Sebastien Ogier: "I said above all that I wanted to enjoy myself behind the wheel in this rally. For the moment, that's what I'm doing. The conditions were similar to those of this morning and we had a good run. Everything's gone well today. I'm very happy with my second place. Like all my rivals I'm a bit apprehensive about tomorrow's loop, especially, the long Riva stage, which will be very hard on the cars."
Loeb was still fifth at the end of SS8, some 23.5s behind Ogier despite pushing all the time. The six-time world champion tried to analyse the situation. "I lost more time than on the first loop, and I can't say whether that's down to me or the fine layer of dust that we had to sweep off for our pursuers. In any case, I couldn't go any quicker. We'll have a good starting position for the second day, but victory is still a long way off! For example, we have forty kilometres of stages on asphalt on which it's better to be first on the road. I'm still optimistic about my chances of winning, and I'll push like crazy tomorrow."