Citroen boss enforces team orders

Citroen tell Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen to hold station.
Citroen boss Yves Matton has told Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen to hold position in Argentina, thereby bringing to an end the scrap for victory.

Loeb finished the morning loop just 2.1 seconds up on Hirvonen, but with Ford's Dani Sordo now a distant third, more than 1.5 minutes adrift, the French manufacturer wants to ensure it doesn't squander the opportunity to take a 1-2 finish.

“I spoke to both the crews and they agreed that it was the best solution. Sebastien Loeb almost went off on SS9 and we can't afford to throw away a possible one-two, which would be great result for both World Championships,” Matton told the official Citroen site.

“It's a bit hard on Mikko after what happened at Rally Portugal [when he was disqualified for a technical infringement and lost the win], but I hope he'll be able to stand on the top step of the podium again with us very soon.”

Speaking in the mid-day service, Loeb reiterated that he was lucky to get away with his 'big moment' in the 39.74 km Intiyaco-Golpe de Agua 1 stage.

“I pushed very hard this morning, but Mikko responded throughout the stages. We had a real fright on SS9: a rock that I hadn't seen in reconnaissance lifted the car off the ground as we headed into a corner,” Loeb recalled.

“There was a large rock on the outer part of the road which kept us from going off. It was a close run thing.”

Hirvonen added: “It was a great fight this morning. I enjoyed driving flat out on these magnificent stages.

“It should be like that all the time. I couldn't wait to do SS9 in the race and I wasn't disappointed...”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Yves Matton [Pic credit: Citroen]

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April 28, 2012 8:36 PM

stefan. it is a reasonably sensible decision, even though i hate team orders. there is a serious shortage of tyres and the tryes in use are unsuitable for an out and out battle. loeb doesnt need team orders and has never asked for these. and to say his time might be over? why? rally drivers can go on successfully for years and years. but the time will come when he wants to try something else. he has driven le mans and runs his own team. surprise. please list the "many" times that loeb has asked for team orders. then list the number of times that ford has used them .

Grant - Unregistered

April 28, 2012 7:32 PM

Can understand the decision. But still, it does rather kill off the interest now. Shame, would have been good to see Loeb and Hirvonen battle it out a bit longer...

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