Daniel Sordo was left to fly the flag for the Citroen Total WRT on Friday in Poland, after Sebastien Loeb crashed out in the opening loop - the Frenchman's second off in as many events.

Loeb's exit leaves Sordo in a tough position, as it is now essential the Spaniard gets to the end in his C4 WRC and at least takes third, as the BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT are on course for another maximum 18-point haul with Mikko Hirvonen leading and Jari-Matti Latvala second.

Sordo also needs to keep the pressure on them however, and try and force them into a mistake, although he is already some way behind - 28.1 seconds off P2 and 37 seconds off the leader.

"Dani is in a difficult situation," observed Citro?n Racing director Olivier Quesnel, who is no doubt mindful Ford are only 15 points behind in the race for the manufacturers' crown.

"He needs to drive steadily to make sure he holds on to third place. But he also still needs to keep a certain amount of pressure on the two Fords in front too.

"We need points and he really cannot afford to lose his footing on the provisional podium."

Sordo meanwhile was happy with how the opening leg went, although he did concede it had been tough on the ultra-quick tests.

It didn't really show though, as he set some very good times and was third fastest in SS4, SS5, SS6 and SS7.

"It hasn't been an easy day. The stages were very fast and it wasn't that straightforward to push really hard after just two passes during the recce," explained the Spaniard.

"I took the second pass quite cautiously because the ideal line had become badly rutted and I didn't want to pick up a puncture. With the exception of SS7, we managed to match the pace of Latvala and I think we should be to keep up the same sort of pace tomorrow."

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