Citroën steals one-two-three-four on German shakedown

Citroën left none of its rivals in any doubt as to its intentions on the 2010 Rallye Deutschland as it chases an eighth consecutive victory on the event - by thoroughly dominating the shakedown with a commanding one-two-three-four
Citroën got its challenge for an incredible eighth successive triumph on Rallye Deutschland off to an impeccable start by leading the way in Thursday's shakedown with a commanding one-two-three-four – as the under-pressure Dani Sordo and former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg matched each other for the fastest time of the stage.

The 5.8km asphalt run near the villages of Mesenich and Grewenich and 16km to the west of the service park in Trier took place in dry and sunny conditions at a very pleasant 23°C, and Solberg and Sordo – the Spaniard competing for the first time alongside new co-driver Diego Vallejo – both set a best time of 3mins 39.4secs.

“It felt good,” Sordo told the official WRC website of his return to the works Citroën fold, having been demoted to the 'Junior Team' for Rally Finland three weeks ago. “Of course it's a big change having Diego alongside me, but we've tested for three days and since then we have been driving together in a road car in Spain.

“It's not the same as proper competition, but everything is okay. The aim for the rally is to try and get a podium, but running sixth on the road isn't an ideal position to be in because there will be a lot of dirt on the road. If the weather stays dry, that will help.”

“The handbrake didn't release after a hairpin and we were stationary for about 15 seconds,” revealed Solberg of an unexpected hitch on his abortive first run through the stage. “Luckily it happened today and we were able to fix it. After that we tried a few different settings, confirming what we found at our pre-event test. In the end the car feels absolutely perfect and we matched Sordo's time. I'm happy with that.”

Multiple World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb – unbeaten in Germany since 2002 – ran Sordo and Solberg closest, 1.3 seconds adrift of the pair as the Frenchman reported 'no problems' with his C4, and even if he acknowledged that 'the road was fast and narrow, so always difficult', he conceded that 'the feeling was good and the car is perfect for the moment'.

Former F1 star Kimi Raikkonen impressed up in fourth on only his second-ever asphalt WRC outing, just under two seconds further in arrears, with BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team duo Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala only fifth and eighth-quickest respectively, sandwiching Stobart Ford returnee François Duval in an excellent sixth.

The rally will rev into life properly at 9am on Friday with the opening Ruwertal/Fell stage.

Leading shakedown times:

1. Dani Sordo Citroën C4 WRC 3:39.4
=1. Petter Solberg Citroën C4 WRC 3:39.4
3. Sébastien Loeb Citroën C4 WRC 3:40.7
4. Kimi Raikkonen Citroën C4 WRC 3:42.6
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford Focus RS WRC 09 3:42.7
6. François Duval Ford Focus RS WRC 08 3:42.8
7. Sébastien Ogier Citroën C4 WRC 3:43.3
8. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Focus RS WRC 09 3:44.4
9. Matthew Wilson Ford Focus RS WRC 08 3:48.3
10. Khalid Al Qassimi Ford Focus RS WRC 08 3:51.4
11. Ken Block Ford Focus RS WRC 08 3:52.2

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Kaj Lindstrom (FIN), Citroen C4 WRC, Citroen Junior Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën C4, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Petter Solberg (NOR) Chris Patterson (GBR), Citroen C4 WRC, Petter Solberg Rallying
Dani Sordo (ESP) Marc Marti (ESP), Citroen C4 Citroën Total World Rally Team
Petter Solberg. Rally Sweden Historic
Petter Solberg. Rally Sweden Historic
Petter Solberg and wife Pernilla celebrate their victory on Rally Sweden Historic
Henning Solberg, Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta WRC, #14)
Henning Solberg, Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta WRC, #14)
Henning Solberg, Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta WRC, #14)
oz,Michelin tyres
oz, Michelin tyres
oz, Michelin tyres

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