Citroen wins a hotly-disputed rallySebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena drove a faultless final day in Rally Turkey to score a hat trick of wins in the 2010 World Rally Championship. This victory has enabled the Citroen Total World Rally Team crew to increase their lead in the
Drivers' World Rally Championship. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti retired in the final loop.
The rain, which everybody feared would fall, did so on Saturday night/ Sunday morning. The final day of the event consisted of two passages through a three-stage loop run on earth. The Deniz and Mudarli (SS18 and 19) stages were cancelled as they were impassible.
So the day started with the Ballica (ES20) stage. Sebastien Loeb
and Daniel Elena were first out on the road and took advantage of the damp conditions to set the quickest time. When the crew of the no.1 C4 WRC arrived back in the Pendik service park, they were still reeling from having made an 85-metre jump! "It was an incredible sensation as we were up in the air for several seconds," exclaimed Sebastien Loeb
. "In the recce, not for a moment did we imagine that we'd jump so far. We gave ourselves a few more scares, but I had to keep on pushing."
Dani Sordo took third place in this stage by cashing in on Mikko Hirvonen's puncture: "This stage was really difficult and we didn't take any more risks as soon as we learned that Miko was in trouble. It's good to be back in third but the last stages will also be very tricky." Prophetic words as it turned out! As the Deniz and Mudarli stages had dried out a lot in the morning Race Control decided to keep them in the second loop. Unfortunately in Deniz 2 (SS21), the Spaniard tripped up in a muddy section: "I wasn't the first to go off in that place; it was a real skating rink. The car hit a tree and a wishbone broke. Just behind me, Sebastien Ogier went off in the same spot too, and our cars touched. Unlike us, he was able to restart."
Loeb tightened his stranglehold on the rally. He set two fastest times before lifting off a little in the final stage, winning Rally Turkey by a comfortable margin from Petter Solberg: "This victory gives me a lot of pleasure, as I won it in a rally where, from a sporting point of view, the outcome of the battle was very indecisive for a long time. The route was a real challenge with some very quick sections and others in which you had to nurse the car. Once again, the reliability of the C4 WRC was a huge help. This third win on the trot has helped us to make the break in the world championship as we now have forty points in hand over our nearest rival."