Dani Sordo kicked off his preparations for the 2009 World Rally Championship in style by sweeping to victory at the 18th Memorial Bettega Rallysprint.
The Spaniard, who finished third in the WRC standings this season, was up against Petter Solberg, Gigi Galli and Marcus Gronholm in the event, held to bring to a close the 2008 Bologna Motor Show in Italy.
Two events were held, the first being a commemorative event for Attilio Bettega, who was killed during the Tour de Corse in 1985. This was divided into qualifying on Saturday – with two groups of four competitors fighting it out against each other – and the finals on Sunday.
Beforehand, another competition took place on Saturday evening: the Memorial Night Sprint and in both contests, Sordo claimed victory at the wheel of the championship-winning Citroen C4 WRC.
Joining the likes of Dider Auriol, Colin McRae and Gronholm in winning the event, Sordo was delighted to take a prestigious win in front of around 10,000 spectators.
“Claiming two trophies in one weekend is incredibly exciting,” he said. “Whenever you take part in any sort of competition, the aim is always to try and win. I had absolutely no idea of what to expect when I came here.
“All I knew was that there were going to be some really good people with strong chances of winning such as Petter Solberg or Gigi Galli – who we competed against on the WRC this year – and Marcus Gronholm. So I could take nothing for granted at all.
“The humidity made the track very slippery as well. There was not much grip on the dirty asphalt, and conditions were even more difficult on the gravel. Throughout both days though, the handling of my Citroen C4 was perfect. It was important to try not to slide the car too much, as that cost a lot of time.
“So I tried to drive as cleanly as possible and this tactic worked really well. I'm very pleased with these two victories, which we clinched in front of a massively enthusiastic crowd with a fantastic atmosphere.”