Sebastien Loeb [Citroen]:

"There's no way that we can be lifting off anywhere, Martin is going very well - he's not far behind. We have had to take some chances today, on the second stage we hit a wall with the right-rear of the car when we were braked too late for a corner."

Markko Martin [Ford]:

"The end result today was very good, it was just the early morning that wasn't kind to us. I felt comfortable with the car and Michelin's tyres have been fantastic. In fact the whole package has worked well. Sebastien has a good lead but it's not over yet. One spin can wipe out that time margin and a mistake in tyre selection by any of the top drivers on the two long stages tomorrow will mean they're history as far as winning is concerned. Those two stages will be very important to the final results. They could be the deciding tests. I'm thinking about this rally and not the championship so we'll try and attack Sebastien tomorrow but I don't think I can go much faster."

Marcus Gronholm [Peugeot]:

"It's been a good day in general. In the morning I was maybe a little too cautious, and then we had the problem with the brakes. Afterwards the car felt good, although I don't think I could have gone any quicker. I still have a lot to learn on asphalt so I think we are doing well so far. It will be very difficult to catch the cars in front, but I am here to try!"

Carlos Sainz [Citroen]:

"I am still taking medication, but I feel okay today. The car is also okay, but the brakes aren't quite right. I don't seem to be getting the right feeling from the pedal. The team is going to change the discs and master cylinder at the last service tonight, so hopefully this should solve the problem. I have to say I am happy to be here after the way I felt earlier in the week."

Francois Duval [Ford]:

"I'm delighted with our position tonight. It was hard for me in the fog this evening but we survived and it's been a good day. We changed a lot of pace notes this morning because they weren't precise enough but I felt confident with them which was important because the roads were damp and slippery under the trees. Tomorrow we'll push harder. Our position on the road will be about the same as today so we can expect similar conditions."

Gilles Panizzi [Peugeot]:

"I haven't been very happy with our progress. I am driving quicker than ever, but our times are still not quite there. This morning, I changed virtually the entire set-up at service. But we are still not setting the fastest times that I know I am capable of. Now we have to see if we can improve the car some more, and hope for better things tomorrow."

Colin McRae [Citroen]:

"This morning I wasn't pushing so hard. I could see the places where Sebastien was taking the time, he's going very well. The car is fine, no problems. It's been a very average day today, nothing to report really."

Tommi Makinen [Subaru]:

"The car felt better with the tyres I used at the end of the day and I'd say the set up is quite good now. Tomorrow everything needs to be sorted for the long stages. Those are the ones that make all the difference here. I'm going to try my best."

Philippe Bugalski [Citroen]:

"For me the last 'real' tarmac rally was here exactly one year ago. I have a good feeling again with the car but I'm still a bit reserved. It [the fog] began six kilometres from the start of the stage [six] and made progress really difficult for eight kilometres. It's a pity because the car is just perfect, very easy to drive, and at this moment I feel completely confident with it. I hope tomorrow I'll be feeling the same way."

Richard Burns [Peugeot]:

"It's been a bad day for us. There have been no mechanical problems, but for some reason I've not felt comfortable with the car. I'm not sure why, but we've been trying different things to try and solve the problem. The car seems quite vague at the front, and I've not got a good feeling with it."

Cedric Robert [Bozian / Peugeot]:

"Rain or a very slippery road surface would maybe have helped me minimise the gap to the rest of the field, but it seems that the latest forecasts are saying that the weather may not stay nice. It will be difficult for me to improve my position just by driving normally now, so I am going to keep concentrating on not making any mistakes and we will see tomorrow if I can make the top 10 again. That's the objective now!"

Roman Kresta [Bozian / Peugeot]:

"I felt very well after the first stage and believed we would enjoy a set of good stage times today. Unfortunately, I made a mistake with my breaks set-up before stage two, which cost me much of valuable time. I tried to go fast, but it was too obvious that some of the top factory cars have made further improvements on their asphalt versions. On the other had, the rally has just started and I did not want to take any big risks to stay in the battle for the weekend."

Didier Auriol [Skoda]:

"Visibility was quite bad at the summit and I had to slow down much more than usual. The Fabia handles well and is very easy to drive when the settings are like this. However we still have to find more performance from the engine to make the most of this good handling."

Notable retirements:

Toni Gardemeister [Skoda]: [retired in SS2 - no brakes]

"At the end of a long straight I tried to brake for the right hand corner but the pedal just went straight to the floor. I threw the car 90? using the handbrake to try and scrub off some speed but the car hit a wall and flipped onto my side. The car then slid off the road, turning onto its right side before finally stopping against some trees. We were very lucky that they were there because the drop beyond them was very big indeed."

Mikko Hirvonen [Ford]: [retired after SS3 - cam belt failure]

"About 3km from the finish the car lost all power. It was downhill so we cruised to the finish. I thought it was an electrical problem but once we cleared the time control I lifted the bonnet and saw the cam belt was broken."

Petter Solberg [Subaru]: [retired after SS6 - ran out of fuel]

"The team tried their best this weekend and I've tried my hardest too. The car felt really good to drive but looking at the times I'm scratching my head. We've come straight from winning first place on gravel, but now we seem to be missing something. The only thing to do is keep working hard, remain positive and work for a better result on the next event."

Team Principals:

Malcolm Wilson [Ford Rallye Sport - team director]:

"Markko has driven well to recover from his time loss this morning and Francois has also enjoyed a good run. He was unfortunate to lose time in the fog tonight but I'm pleased with his performance today."

David Lapworth [Subaru World Rally Team - team principal]:

"It's been a disappointing day for the team who have worked very hard. We've made some good progress but clearly other teams have made steps too. On a positive note we have learnt a lot here today and know what we need to do to close the gap in these conditions."

Petr Kohoutek [Skoda Auto Director of Motorsport]:

"The brake failure was caused by overheating fluid. Toni and Paavo were lucky that they escaped unscathed. Obviously our car needs more speed but, although we found some improvements during our tests in Corsica and Spain we have not so far been able to make those changes work in Sanremo. Engine development will take more time than we have between events at the moment."

 

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