17 August 2008
Germany - day 3: Loeb in seventh heaven.
“It's fantastic to have won here again in Trier where French spectators always turn out in big numbers. It's also a positive result for us in the Drivers' championship because it means we have recovered the lead, so we have plenty of reasons to be delighted with our weekend."
Dani Sordo meanwhile took the runners-up spot in the sister C4 WRC car, and that result gives the Citroen Total WRT the maximum 18-point haul and moves it in front of Ford in the manufacturers'. Citroen now has an 8 point lead, with 5 rounds to go.
Sordo's pace was equally good - and while he couldn't match Seb, he managed 14 top-three times, including one stage win. He eventually finished more than 30 seconds up on P3.
"I am very pleased to have finished second,” said the Spaniard. “The Rallye Deutschland isn't my favourite asphalt event because its format doesn't let you settle into a real rhythm, but it was very nice to be back on sealed surface stages.
“I had tremendous fun driving and running in second position. Our result gives Citroen a one-two finish and our overall points haul takes us to the top of the Manufacturers' standings, so that's clearly a result! I've moved up one place in the Drivers' points table, too, and we must now knuckle down to try to repeat the same sort of performance."
Stobart Ford's Francois Duval secured the final spot on the podium, having put in a charge on the final day - winning all four 'proper' tests - to ensure he kept Mikko Hirvonen behind in P4.
Duval, who was competing in the WRC for the first time since the Rallye Monte Carlo back in January, gradually got more and more confident with his Focus and that bodes well for him ahead of the other asphalt events in Spain and France.
"It's great to come here with very little testing and on new tyres and be able to finish on the podium,” he stated. “It was always going to be a big challenge to fight for a win as the other drivers have been competing all year and have been testing so the result feels very good."
Hirvonen in contrast had ended the first day in second, but he slipped to third on Saturday, before a puncture in the final stage dropped him to fourth. While he tried to fight back on Sunday, he couldn't close the gap and eventually finished 10.1 seconds back.
"I was on the limit this morning to try to catch Duval," said the Finn. "I had a big escape [in SS16]. I had a corner marked in my notes with a small cut, but I took a big cut. It was a high-speed bend and the car was up on two wheels for a long time. It was close! On the third stage I saw I was three seconds down on Duval at the third split section and decided to ease off and settle for fourth. I didn't want to make any mistakes chasing third and risk losing what I had.”
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