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Rally New Zealand: Rally Reactions - Day 1.

Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I've never had such a good rhythm in New Zealand. When I have that kind of rhythm on these flowing roads, it feels as if I don't need to push too hard. It's tricky to find the right balance here because if you cross the camber in the bends then you immediately slide off the line and lose time. The roads have dried more quickly than we thought and it was slippery in the loose gravel, but I don't think road position made too much of a difference.

"Tomorrow I will be first on the road so it won't be easy on the slippery gravel. I've been in that position before and just have to find a way around it. I'm not sure there is a big difference between first and second in the start order but it won't be easy, especially as each stage will only be driven once so there is no chance to drive on cleaner roads. There will be more loose gravel tomorrow than on any other day.”


Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:

"The terrain is dictating how fast we go. We can't fault our C4 WRC. Its set-up is perfect for these stages and it is handling excellently. Despite the limited amount of grip that was available, I pushed as hard as I could. We were forced to use hard compound tyres which didn't work well on the cold, hard-packed ground we found this morning. On top of that, we had so much roadsweeping to do that it was really difficult to post quick times, but I haven't given up challenging for the lead.

"We pushed has hard as we could. We even closed to within seven tenths of the lead by the end of SS4.1. Unfortunately, we stalled before the start of SS4.2 and the engine refused to fire up again. We had to push the car to get it started and we checked in late. That cost us valuable time which we will need to try to claw back tomorrow."



Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]:

"It's very frustrating. It was impossible to make full use of our car's potential. The top-coating of gravel was so thick in places that our tyres, which we are no longer allowed to 're-cut', weren't able to eke out enough grip. Even running third on the road, we were still sweeping a clearer line for those running behind us in the order. I tried to profit as much as I could from the competitiveness of our car. Given the conditions, I'm quite pleased with our day and we are in a good position for tomorrow."


Jari-Matti Latvala [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I'm pleased that my confidence and rhythm are coming back after my problems in Germany. It felt about 95 per cent this morning. I found it harder to get my driving together this afternoon and hit a bank in the penultimate stage, knocking the front bumper from the car. The roads were quite dry but where it was wet, the tracks were really slippery. They didn't clean up as much as I thought. I slowed towards the end of the penultimate stage to ensure a better road position for tomorrow. Third will be a good place to start. It will be a challenging day but I really like those roads so I'm looking forward to it.”



Francois Duval [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

“Today has been good for us especially with this being my first WRC event on gravel since Greece last year. This morning the car was not feeling great so we changed the rollbar at service which resulted in much less over-steer and this helped my confidence a lot this afternoon. On the last two stages I was using a bit too much left-foot braking and I lost the front brakes but apart from that everything went well this afternoon.”


Urmo Aava [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:

[No Quote]


Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:

“Today has been very tough. “We've been pushing hard, but we're too far off the leaders. We had some problems with damaged front right suspension, and that's where we lost most. Grip was really tricky this morning, very slippery, and it got better this afternoon, but with our road position we should have been faster.”


Per-Gunnar Andersson [Suzuki WRT]:

"The first stage was really tough, it was a bit of a surprise. The car was much too hard and this was combined with the driving been too bad. The tyre was too hard for the conditions, but this is the same for everybody. We came out of the first stage and made some changes to the suspension on the car - we softened it as much as we could. This helped in the second stage and then in the third, everything was going really well. I found the re-run of Pirongia West (SS4) quite hard, I couldn't find a rhythm in the stage. It's been a good day today, though. The car has been perfect and we're in the best position possible. Now we have to stay there."


Toni Gardemeister [Suzuki WRT]:



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Ford Focus RS WRC 07
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Miikka Antilla (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Eric Camilli (FRA) Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ESP) Hyundai i20 WRC
Mads Ostberg (NOR) Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Michel Fabre (FRA) Maxine Vilmot (FRA) Citroen DS3 R3T
Eric Camilli (FRA) Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA) Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford RS WRC

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