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I won`t drop my guard, says Loeb.

Sebastien Loeb enjoyed an excellent start to his home event, the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse on Friday, the latest round in this year's World Rally Championship.

Loeb romped away from the pack in his Citroen C4 WRC car, winning all six stages and ending the leg with a comfortable 32.3 second advantage over his chief championship rival, Mikko Hirvonen.

"It's been an excellent day. Our C4 ran like a dream and we didn't make any mistakes," said the four-time world champion. "This morning's loop went very well.

"It took me a few kilometres to modify my driving style for this event and settle into the best rhythm which is a little different here in Corsica to what it was last weekend in Spain.

"After that, I was able to push to try to pull out a gap. I have a great feeling with my C4, with just a soupcon of understeer through the longer turns which the technicians are trying to cure at the moment. The conditions were dry and our Pirelli Pzero Hard tyres worked well.

"But what matters more than our fastest times, I think, is the fact that we succeeded in more than doubling our lead this afternoon. The gap is now up to slightly more than 32 seconds.

"That's not enough to start thinking about lifting, but it does make our job a little easier going into the second day, although we have no intention of dropping our guard."

Citroen boss Olivier Quesnel meanwhile had mixed feelings and while he was obviously delighted to see Loeb do so well, he was less happy with Dani Sordo, who went out in SS3.

"I can't be one hundred per cent pleased with how today went," he added. "This morning, our two crews started strongly to show how competitive the C4 WRC is on sealed surfaces.

"After SS2, we were first and second, and Sébastien and Daniel [Elena] went on to continue their domination for the rest of the day. Winning all the opening day's stages, which is a feat they also achieved in Finland, Germany and Spain, has given them a handy advantage at the top of tonight's order, but nothing is by any means set in concrete just yet.

"My only regret is the fact that Dani and Marc [Marti] went off, but that's rallying. They were pushing hard and were caught out under braking. The team is doing all it can to repair their car to enable them to re-start tomorrow morning under the SupeRally ruling."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroen C4, Citroen Total World Rally Team
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