11 October 2008
Rallye de France: Rally reactions - Day 2.
Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:
"It's true that there's no big fight this weekend, but I prefer to be in control. The stages are magnificent and we are enjoying ourselves. We've kept up a good rhythm all day. But the rally is far from over. Tomorrow's stages are new and we will need to stay concentrated."
"The hotter temperatures meant that the tyre factor was more important this afternoon. On the long 25.17km stage, SS11, it was important not to push our tyres too hard to make sure they didn't get too hot and lose their edge. The other stages, SS10 and SS12, were shorter, though, and we were able to go a little faster on those two tests. I would obviously prefer it if we had a fight on our hands but we mustn't lose sight of the fact that a good result here would do our chances in both championships a world of good, and we intend to do everything we can to stay on top tomorrow."
[Speaking in the mid-day service] "Despite our overnight lead, I don't want to lift too much today. The terrain is twistier, narrower and bumpier, and the asphalt is more abrasive. There were a few damp portions, too, but our gravel note crew had them clearly marked. I tried to keep to the same sort of pace as yesterday and that was probably the best way to stay concentrated. I have every confidence in my car and that means I was able to drive quickly without pushing it to its limits. It also means our lead is bigger right now, although we should be able to start taking things a little easier this afternoon."
Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"This morning I thought that if everything went well, then I could keep ahead of Francois and that's how it turned out. I don't think either of us was driving at 110 per cent this afternoon but nothing is certain so I'll drive hard tomorrow. Second would be very important to maintain my challenge for the drivers' championship. I have to accept that I can't beat Sebastien Loeb here, so I would be happy with second. The stages today were tricky and I slid around and missed some braking points on the slippery gravel sections. There was more gravel on the stages and the roads were more abrasive. Tomorrow's roads are quite similar. They are very bumpy in places so I will need to be careful."
Francois Duval [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"I want Ford to score as many points as possible and Mikko has the advantage over me here. Second would be important for him also in the drivers' championship, so I prefer not to take risks and stay on the road. I expected to be faster than him this morning but he's very quick on asphalt this year. I was happy to win the last stage. I softened the suspension settings at lunchtime but it didn't really work so I made some changes before the final stage and it paid off. Tomorrow's stages are difficult so I don't intend pushing hard and taking risks. Third would be a good result for me."
Jari-Matti Latvala [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:
"Everything seemed to go perfect today but we never really did anything differently it all just seemed to click into place. We even carried two spares for safety on the afternoon loop when most other people had one so the extra weight made no difference to our speed at all. After Service I couldn't believe how my times were so good. I have just been trying to drive more precisely like I learnt in Spain last week and it is working well; now we are in a much stronger fourth position. The stages tomorrow are generally wider but there is a narrow section in the middle of one where we need to be careful as there are some very sharp edges."
Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:
"Fifth is exactly where we expected to be here so it's quite okay. It's been a bit up and down today for us as the stages are very different today to yesterday, and a mix of smooth and abrasive. On the abrasive we were faster than Jari, but on the smooth downhill sections we just lose time. We're making some changes and some areas are a little bit better and we're understanding them more, but some not so good, but that's just the way it is. If you want to go forward, sometimes you will go backwards a bit. The roads are a little wider tomorrow but still lots of surface changes so we'll see what we can do."
Chris Atkinson [Subaru WRT]:
"There wasn't anything particularly special for us today. We were pushing hard this morning and were pretty close to Jari-Matti and Petter, but then we got a puncture on the middle stage of the morning. Now there's 1minute 50s ahead of us and 1minute 40s behind. You've got to keep pushing on roads like these though, but the idea is to get the points for sixth now and see if anyone else who's pushing has a problem."
Urmo Aava [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:
"It's really not been a very good day for us. This is the second stage we have had to do with the front left damper broken. It's just dangerous. We had the same problem yesterday."
Brice Tirabassi [Subaru WRT]
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