Sebastien Loeb [Citroen]:

"We have been pushing very hard today. The problem with the rock this morning shows that you do need some luck some times. The rock hit the sump guard and knocked the front of the car into the air, then I heard it hit something on the left-rear - but we got away with it."

Carlos Sainz [Citroen]:

"This morning some of the corners were quite tricky. The stages were dry, but if you were taking the cut into the corner then you went across the grass, which could be quite slippery. Obviously we are trying as hard as we can, but at the same time we have to keep the car on the road."

Markko Martin [Ford]:

"The first stage was OK but as the G-forces increased and the speeds rose, it [my neck problem] became worse. I'm putting so much energy into tensing my neck muscles to 'catch' my head, it's making me tired. It's hard to concentrate on my driving. It's OK on the shorter stages up to about 10km, but on tests longer than that it troubles me because my neck becomes tired and I can't keep my head in the right position.

"I'm trying to do my best but it's maybe not good enough. I twice drove a 50km stage on the Rallye Sanremo with no problems but after 20km here I am exhausted. If the roads were wet it would be less of a problem but I'm constantly fighting myself. My neck could be the difference between me winning or losing this rally."

Gilles Panizzi [Peugeot]:

"This morning was a disaster: the tyres were way too soft and I had no grip. But once I was able to run on the right tyres, the car came to me. I had a very good feeling with my 206 WRC in the afternoon and I was able to push hard. Now I'm hoping for another strong run tomorrow."

Francois Duval [Ford]:

"It's been a good day apart from when I stalled the engine. That annoyed me. I'm not pushing too hard because I have a good position and I want to finish this rally. I found it much easier on the repeated stages this afternoon. Tomorrow there are many tests that are new to everyone so my lack of experience on these roads will not make any difference."

Richard Burns [Peugeot]:

"We got off to a good start this morning and I had a nice feeling with the car. But unfortunately we lost a lot of time on SS7. On the fourth or fifth corner I braked normally but we went straight on - maybe my tyres were cold or something. We slid into a field, and it took a long time to get the car going again. But although the exhaust was flattened, there was no real damage."

Colin McRae [Citroen]:

"The spin [on SS4] came because the car stalled when we handbraked it at a left-hand hairpin. The day's been okay for us. This morning was a bit tricky, some parts of the new stage were difficult, narrow, with quite big edges off the sides of the road."

Philippe Bugalski [Citroen]:

"The tyres and the suspension were too soft this morning. Okay we have gone to better settings for the rest of today, but I just haven't been able to find the feeling on this event."

Tommi Makinen [Subaru]:

"I'm pretty happy with the set-up of the car ahead of tomorrow's stages and we haven't had to change much at all today. If it's cool and damp tomorrow morning then we'll have a good opportunity to move up the leaderboard. It's raining a little bit on some of the stages at the moment, and if that it continues tomorrow, then anything can happen."

Marcus Gronholm [Peugeot]:

"Today's not been good to me. We were never able to find a good feeling with the car. I can't really attack when it's like this and I didn't want to change any of the settings too drastically. This afternoon we concentrated on not making mistakes and getting to the end. But tomorrow is another day and there is a long way left to go."

Petter Solberg [Subaru]:

"It's not been a good day, but I'm hopeful that there's still time to catch up the leaders. We lost 50 seconds in service when we had a problem with the alternator and I just had to sit in the car and wait for it to be fixed. But, looking back we're actually very lucky that the guys found the problem or we could have retired. Today is just the first day and hopefully we can turn things around and improve our position. There's nothing wrong at all with my motivation."

Toni Gardemeister [Skoda]:

"This morning the car was unbalanced and did not give me confidence to drive flat out on the damp roads. We changed the suspension settings and that got the car back to how it was in Corsica."

Didier Auriol [Skoda]:

"It really wasn't a nice day at all after a promising start. The problem on the third stage was because I cut a corner. I felt a thump at the front of the car and I realised that I had broken the rim so I had to drive carefully to get the car to the end of the stage without more damage. The turbo problem meant I was driving with smoke and exhaust gasses leaking into the cockpit which is not a pleasant experience."

Mikko Hirvonen [Ford]:

"I had to drive the last three stages using the manual gearchange system and with the differentials not working properly. But we are still going. The pace here is faster than in Corsica and I had a few surprises on the opening stage so I slowed down. But obviously I didn't slow enough because we nearly rolled on stage three. We were lucky."

Notable retirements:

None

Team Principals:

Guy Frequelin [Citroen Sport - team principal]:

"This is a superb start. However we know there are still two difficult days ahead of us before the finish. The motivation in the whole team is high tonight."

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

"We made a great start to this event with Petter setting a fastest time. It was very promising, which then made it all the more disappointing when we found the problem with Petter's car in service and lost some time. But, there are still plenty of kilometres left for Petter and Tommi to fight back and I think our championship rivals at the top of the leaderboard are under a lot of pressure. We just need to ensure we get a clear run to the finish of this rally and that will keep us in the hunt for the Championship title."

Petr Kohoutek [Skoda Motorsport - director of motorsport]:

"The positive news from today is that we have confirmed the improvements made to the car in Corsica. However, we have also had a lot of bad luck that has meant our overall position tonight does not accurately reflect those improvements."

 

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