Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:

"It's been an excellent day. Our C4 ran like a dream and we didn't make any mistakes. But what matters more than our fastest times, I think, is the fact that we succeeded in more than doubling our lead this afternoon. The gap is now up to slightly more than 32 seconds. That's not enough to start thinking about lifting, but it does make our job a little easier going into the second day, although we have no intention of dropping our guard."

[Speaking in the mid-day service] "This morning's loop went very well It took me a few kilometres to modify my driving style for this event and settle into the best rhythm which is a little different here in Corsica to what it was last weekend in Spain. After that, I was able to push to try to pull out a gap. I have a great feeling with my C4, with just a soupcon of understeer through the longer turns which the technicians are trying to cure at the moment. The conditions were dry and our Pirelli Pzero Hard tyres worked well. We go into the second loop with a lead of 14.4 seconds, but the roads will undoubtedly be dirtier, so there could be a few surprises this afternoon."

Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I'm feeling much better at the end of the first day here than I did in Spain last week, but the gap to S?bastien Loeb is 32sec, which is still too big for my liking. He was faster than me on every stage and if he maintains that pace, then I can't beat him. I can't push any harder without taking massive risks. At the moment I'm driving safely and at a comfortable speed but if I push too hard then the car starts to understeer. I can't relax though because Fran?ois is close behind and I need to concentrate on the fight with him. He is a good driver on asphalt, so if I can stay ahead of him tomorrow I would be happy. Tomorrow will be interesting because the roads are rough and bumpy and mistakes could be punished with a puncture or worse."

Francois Duval [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I expected more from today. I wanted to be second tonight, but third isn't too bad. This is a difficult rally and I didn't feel that the grip was 100 per cent perfect throughout the day. It was especially difficult this morning because the roads were dirty and that's why I lost time in the first stage. However, conditions were the same for everyone this afternoon. The car understeered a little but maybe that's normal when the roads are dirty. I will need to push hard tomorrow. The gap to Mikko isn't so big so second place is possible."

Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:

"I'm very happy with the last stage today actually. We made some changes in the service and they didn't work at all so we lost two places, but then we went back again and I made some more changes the other way on the road section before the last stage and the car got better and better. The car is definitely running better on the surface here. On the smooth stages like the first today we lose a bit of time, but on the others where it's more abrasive it's much better grip. We'll make a change again and see what we can do on the stages tomorrow."

Jari-Matti Latvala [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"I have been pleased with today and it seems that even though I have been improving my pace during the day, the other guys have as well and now we are in a really exciting battle for fourth. The stages have been tricky today with a fair bit of gravel on the stages and I have really been trying hard to work on my lines and improve my driving here. I'm very happy because my gap to the leaders now after the first day is much less than in Spain."

Chris Atkinson [Subaru WRT]:

"We are in a close battle with Petter and Jari-Matti today, and considering we're in the same car as Petter and he's won this rally before I can't complain. I think the setup works ok and we had some good stages, but the last stage wasn't so good. We lost some time at the end of the stage where something changed. I was all over, using all the road. At one stage we were up to fourth, then with the problem at the end with not being able to carry the speed we dropped back to sixth. It's good to be able to fight though, and for sure it makes it more interesting during the day, but we want to be fighting for first."

Toni Gardemeister [Suzuki WRT]:

"The biggest problem I had today was the fact that I was feeling really ill for most of it: I had a very sore throat and during the afternoon my legs felt like spaghetti! Under those circumstances it's quite difficult to drive flat-out, but I did my best and we are not in a bad position overnight. The car today has been very good and so we've ended up in the points, which is good. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and we will continue to move up the leaderboard."

Andreas Mikkelsen [Ramsport Ford Focus RS WRC]:

"It was tricky to start off with, but things got better as the day went on. I'm really looking forward to leg two now."

Brice Tirabassi [Subaru WRT]

"For me it's been a tough day today, but we are still ninth. The feeling has not been so good today, and even though I know the roads here very well, I haven't been able to push as hard as I want. I've been taking some risks to try and get the speed, and we've had one or two moments, so we will have to make some changes overnight to improve it for tomorrow."

Urmo Aava [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:

"It was really tough this morning, but things got better in the afternoon."

Conrad Rautenbach [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:

"I didn't perform as well on this stage [SS6] as I did on the previous one, but I really love this rally!"

Per-Gunnar Andersson [Suzuki WRT]:

"After going off the road in Catalunya, it was important for me to try and get my confidence back so I wasn't pushing so hard today. We steadily improved the car and I'm happy with the progress we made, after I carried out a few small suspension adjustments at service. The roads today were really tricky and surprisingly slippery, but now that I have a good feeling with the car I can push hard tomorrow."

Mads Ostberg [Adapta WRT Subaru Impreza WRC]:

"We're getting better, even though we keep making little mistakes. It's been a lot of fun today."

Matthew Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"It started off really well today and we got into a good rhythm on the first couple of stages and climbed up into the points. Then on the third stage we hit a small tree and dropped some time and it was difficult to concentrate again fully in the afternoon. Maybe I was trying too hard to get the time back. But for tomorrow I need to start afresh, clear my head and try to get back up into the points again. I like tomorrow's stages so hopefully we can get back into the form from this morning."

Khalid Al Qassimi [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I'm finding the rally difficult. I can't find the pace I need and I have to learn so much more about driving here before I can feel confident. I have more speed in me but I'm still trying to find my limit and twice I slid into the bushes this afternoon."

Barry Clark [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"It's been a fantastic day for me here. We started off cautiously as the first stage was very tricky with lots of gravel and they weren't the best conditions for me to learn how to drive the car. But the next two went really well and I was able to start to feel how the car was working. Then back in Service we made a few changes, basically making the car a bit stiffer and that worked well. I'm really happy with today's driving, the conditions were fantastic and the stages provide a real challenge so obviously I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."

Pierre Campana (Renault Clio R3): [JWRC - leader]

"We did a good job setting up the car and adapting it to my driving style during the shakedown. I'm really delighted to be fighting at the same level as the best drivers in the Junior World Championship. I need more experience at the wheel to get the maximum out of the Clio Renault Sport R3. But I'm going to do it step by step!"

Martin Prokop [Citroen C2 S1600: [JWRC - second]

"I definitely needed to be quick straight out of the box this morning. The championship title is out of my reach as I cannot score enough points to win it, but the other podium places are still available. That's why I need to get the best result possible and score as many points as I can here. This morning, I felt confident straight away with my Citroen C2 Super 1600. Maybe I had a little less stress than my rivals who are fighting for the title but this allowed me to find a really good and safe pace right from the opening stage."

Sebastien Ogier [Citroen C2 S1600]: [JWRC]

"We are here to score the points we need to sew up the Junior world title. We didn't take any risks. I kept to a pace that enabled me to post some decent times but without asking too much of my car, and I did my best not to make any mistakes. It's not what I like doing the most, but we've got to focus on the final result."

Henning Solberg [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT]:

"I've been quite happy with how things have gone today. Ok we had a problem on the last stage with a puncture and dropped a few minutes but apart from that we've had no problems. My driving here has been much better than in Spain and you can see that from the times, which have been a lot closer to the leaders. I haven't changed many things this rally and have really tried to concentrate on improving my driving and this is definitely the plan again for tomorrow."

Aaron Burkart [Citroen C2 S1600]: [JWRC]

"It wasn't an easy day for me. I didn't really feel comfortable on these roads. The second loop of stages went better, but I'm not happy with my position tonight. Now I need to concentrate on tomorrow in order not to let my title chances slip away."

Notable retirements:

Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]: [retired from day 1 in SS3 - went off the road]

"I started cautiously and used SS1 to find my marks. On the next stage, I was able to profit from the full potential of my C4 and we managed to move into second place, although we did push very hard to achieve that. Then, about 800 metres after the start of SS3, there was a small bump in the braking zone for a lefthand turn at the end of a particularly fast, narrow, downhill section, and that was enough to cause my car to lift slightly. I braked as hard as I could, taking care not to lock the wheels, but the rear of my C4 swiped a bank which sent the front end into a rock. That in turn ripped off the left-side wheel and we were unable to continue. It's a huge shame. I had found a good pace, I felt completely at one with my car and we had just moved into second place."

Team principals:

Olivier Quesnel [Citroen Total WRT - team principal]:

"I can't be one hundred per cent pleased with how today went. This morning, our two crews started strongly to show how competitive the C4 WRC is on sealed surfaces. After SS2, we were first and second, and S?bastien and Daniel went on to continue their domination for the rest of the day. Winning all the opening day's stages, which is a feat they also achieved in Finland, Germany and Spain, has given them a handy advantage at the top of tonight's order, but nothing is by any means set in concrete just yet. My only regret is the fact that Dani and Marc went off, but that's rallying. They were pushing hard and were caught out under braking. The team is doing all it can to repair their car to enable them to re-start tomorrow morning under the SupeRally ruling."

Malcolm Wilson [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT - team director]:

"We've made a big step forward since Spain and our drivers are happier here in these stages than they were last week. We need maximum points and both drivers will try to keep the pressure on Loeb tomorrow."

David Richards [Subaru WRT - managing director]:

"It's been an encouraging day of clear steady progress and all of our drivers are in good positions to capitalise on their performance over the next couple of days. We came here with the same setup as we finished Spain, and as our drivers cover more distance on tarmac with this car, so we are able to optimise the setup in these conditions."

Malcolm Wilson [Stobart VK M-Sport Ford WRT - team boss]:

"It has been another really strong performance from Jari-Matti and he has really built upon his strong final day in Spain. Already he's challenging for fourth and has been improving steadily throughout the day. It was looking good for Matt this morning and he was lucky to get away with as little damage on stage 3. Now it's time for him to re-focus and climb back up the leaderboard back into the manufacturer points again."

Shusuke Inagaki [Suzuki WRT - team director]:

"Once more, our SX4 WRC has been perfectly reliable all day. Toni has done a fantastic job to finish provisionally in the drivers' points at the end of the opening leg, despite his illness. As for P-G, he has built up confidence without putting a foot wrong and so he is now in the manufacturer points. To have two Suzukis in points-scoring positions at the end of such a tough first day is a solid achievement, and now we hope to build on this promising start over the rest of the weekend."



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