WRC » 1 January 1901
Ireland: Quoteboard - Day 1.
Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:
"I felt a lot more confident with Sottozero tyres on my C4 WRC. Its handling was much more progressive and I was able to run at the pace I wanted to. But even though I'm leading this evening, and despite the cushion we have over the car in third place, I prefer to continue to drive cautiously because I can't afford to make any mistakes. Cancelling the last two stages was probably the right thing to do, but I wouldn't have minded contesting them. I think it's especially hard on the spectators who turned out to watch us."
[Speaking in the mid-day service] "It's something of a surprise to see a snow tyre outperform an asphalt tyre in the wet. It didn't take me long to realise that I wouldn't be able to push as hard as I would have liked. It was dark, and I had trouble picking out the many places where there was running water on the road. We were aquaplaning all the time, even at low speeds. I didn't want to risk going off on the very first stage of the championship, so I decided to bide my time."
Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]:
"I enjoyed myself this afternoon. My car was easier to drive and I had a good feeling. I'm glad we succeeded in passing Urmo Aava and Mikko Hirvonen. Citroën is first and second this evening, which is a great result, and we will need to keep that up tomorrow and on Sunday."
[Speaking in the mid-day service] "It was crazy out there! The car did practically what it liked in those places where there was the most flooding. I lost a few seconds when I stalled in a hairpin on SS3 but I'm just glad we're still in the event."
Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:
"I was happier than this morning because I was more confident with the tyres. Considering it was 7ºC and the roads were soaking wet, they worked amazingly well for a winter snow and ice pattern. I lost a few seconds on the final stage when I almost overshot a junction and stalled the engine as I handbraked the car round. Dani Sordo is in my sights as he is just 20sec ahead. Tomorrow's stages are faster so I hope I can pick up time on him. It's a shame tonight tests were cancelled because I enjoy driving in the dark and it would have been exciting. I hoped to regain some time on him in those stages."
[Speaking in the mid-day service] "There was more water than I expected [this morning], so much that it was like driving through watersplashes, and I lost control completely in a couple of places. I wasn't so happy with my tyre choice. It was a 50-50 decision but I think the winter tyre would have been better. I hit a bump on the first stage and the impact damaged the light pod. It left the lights facing the wrong way and pointing straight at me through the windscreen. I couldn't see for the glare - but it took me about 5km before I realised all I had to do was to switch them off!"
Henning Solberg [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:
"We are enjoying it and setting our own pace to try and finish in the top five, which is our main aim for the weekend. I'm much higher up the leaderboard than I thought I would be at this stage. It's better that there is more rain because the slippery conditions work in our favour and I find it easier to drive on tarmac like that. We are not going to worry about the fight for podium positions but just concentrate on finishing and looking ahead to Norway."
Conrad Rautenbach [Citroen Junior Team]:
"Maybe we were a little bit too careful in the first stage. We've had no problems at all and the car is working perfectly. I'm actually a bit disappointed that the final two stages were cancelled, as I would have loved to have ended the day with some night stages. I'm very pleased with this first day, but there's still a lot to do before we can think about the finish."
[Speaking in the mid-day service] "I am pleased with my choice. We were possibly a little too cautious, but some of the other drivers have been having problems, whereas we are still in the fight. I think I'll continue to drive the same way this afternoon."
Sebastien Ogier [Citroen Junior Team]:
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