Loeb and Elena in the lead before the final sprint
The second day of Rally Turkey has been the theatre of a thrilling battle between five crews. With two C4 WRCs in the running for the podium, the Citroen Total World Rally Team has achieved the best overall result. Sebastien
Loeb and Daniel Elena who were fourth this morning are now in the overall lead with 16.2s in hand over Petter Solberg and Phil Mills. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti, who are currently lying fourth only a few seconds behind Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lethinen, are also well placed to achieve a good final result.
The second day of Rally Turkey with 145 timed kilometres was also the longest of the event. The crews had to cover a 4-stage loop made up of very varied terrain twice. Gocbeyli (SS10/14) and Bozhane (SS12/16) were mainly asphalt, while the Riva stage (SS13/17) promised to give the tyres and the cars a real hammering.
The crews left the Pendik parc ferme under grey skies. Dani Sordo, who was second at the start of the stage, began to fall back and finished the first loop in fifth place 15.2s behind the leader: "Our tyre choice was a bit too daring. I started off with a couple of well-run in tyres to try and find more speed on the asphalt, but it wasn't the right choice. I lost just a few seconds, which wasn't a real problem. This afternoon, I'll set out with six new tyres and we'll try and stay in the leading bunch."Sebastien Loeb
pulled back a place and closed the gap to Sebastien Ogier by ten seconds: "Overall, the first loop's been pretty positive. It wasn't easy as Ogier, Solberg and Hirvonen fought well to defend their places. I had to take risks to set quick times! Like my rivals, I was hindered by the work carried out on the roads by the organisers since the recce. The layout of some corners has been modified, and I got caught out on several occasions."
After a thirty-minute service halt on the banks of the Bosporus, the crews set out to tackle the Turkish Rally stages for the second time. By being quickest in Gocbeyli 2 (SS14), Loeb put down a marker. He finished second in the following one, Ulupelit 2, and took the lead in the rally for the first time. The six- time world champion ended the loop with another couple of fastest times and arrived back in the parc ferme with a 16.2s lead over Petter Solberg." We at last managed to open up a good gap and take first place. Our lead is anything but comfortable as the third day will be long and difficult. The weather too could play a role in the outcome of the rally. If it rains, being first out on the road could be an advantage. In the opposite case, we'll just have to push very hard to stay in front."
Dani Sordo drove a consistent race in the leading group in fourth spot, 6s behind the second-placed driver: "The afternoon went off well, the car was good and we enjoyed ourselves in the stages. We didn't have a puncture today, which, I think, was the most difficult. We'll have a good starting position for the final loop and we can fight with Petter Solberg and Mikko Hirvonen for a place on the podium."