Sebastien Loeb [Citroen Total WRT]:

"It was only a little bit dirtier than the first pass. We consequently continued at the same quick pace to try to increase our lead. My car has handled perfectly all day and we didn't make any mistakes, so we will try to make sure things stay that way tomorrow!"

[Speaking in the mid-day service] "Given the cold, dry conditions, we knew the hard compound would take time to get up to working temperature, so I pushed hard from the start. We immediately settled into a good, fast pace and, because we were running first on the road, we also benefited from a clean road. That meant we could take the ideal lines without doing too much corner cutting, which reduced the risk of picking up a puncture. We've pulled out a handy gap, but it isn't big enough yet. We'll see how the stages are second time round."

Daniel Sordo [Citroen Total WRT]:

"We made some small changes to the set-up of the car to try to eliminate some understeer [this afternoon]. It was a step in the right direction and I felt more confident second time round. We continued to push hard to extend our lead over our rivals in third place and the gap currently stands at 25.5 seconds. That isn't bad but it's by no means sufficient to start thinking that it's in the bag. There are still two more tough days to come."

[Speaking in the mid-day service] "I had a bit of trouble finding the ideal pace [this morning]. I didn't feel 100 per cent confident with the hard compound tyre and I slightly modified the way I drove in order to profit as much as possible from the potential of my C4. This good start is exactly what we were hoping for. We aren't far behind Seb and we've succeeded in gradually pulling clear of our chasers. How this afternoon unfolds will depend on the conditions, but my aim is to keep on pushing."

Francois Duval [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"I'm happy, although I struggled for grip in places this morning. These stages were new to me so I made many changes to my pace notes during the first pass. There was a lot of gravel on the road because cars ahead were cutting corners and it was slippery. As a result I dropped too many seconds to the leaders but I feel confident with the car and it's a good feeling to be back in the Ford team again. Tomorrow should be better for me because the roads are twistier. I plan to attack hard tomorrow. Mikko is very close behind me and he will push hard also, so I have no alternative."

Mikko Hirvonen [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]:

"The gap to the leaders was quite large after the first loop. I didn't feel confident with the car and didn't push as much as I knew I could so I talked with my engineers to see how we could find more speed. We changed to softer suspension springs, closer to the set-up I had for Rallye Deutschland in August. I prefer a softer set-up with more grip, that's my natural feeling, so I had more confidence and my times were closer to the leaders. It's not possible to make big changes to the car because then I would end up compromising in other areas. I had a good battle with Fran?ois, and I'm sure it will be the same tomorrow, but I can't say I enjoyed the day. The morning was disappointing which I didn't expect. After the test in Spain last week I felt excited as everything felt good and I thought I'd made a good step in the right direction. I was happier this afternoon and I hope we can do some magic tonight."

Petter Solberg [Subaru WRT]:

"The soft tyres didn't work for us this morning and we lost a lot of time, but I felt more comfortable on the second two stages. This afternoon we were faster but the car actually felt harder to drive on the hard tyres. It was moving around a lot more on them, especially under braking, so maybe we'll go back."

Urmo Aava [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:

"It was a good day. I did a bit better this morning. I tried to improve, but it's not easy with a dirtier road. Tomorrow it will be slower and twister. We will see."

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

"We started off slowly today as my confidence was low after the results from the last rallies but things got better during the day. We made some positive changes at the midday Service and the rear of the car felt much better and more balanced this afternoon. I'm starting to understand the tyres better now so it will good to build on this tomorrow. The stages tomorrow are more enjoyable than today, more twisty and flowing. Today was quite narrow in places with a lot of straights."

Chris Atkinson [Subaru WRT]:

"We started cautiously as I didn't have a good feeling in the car, but this afternoon was definitely better. I had to back off in the last stage this morning, but this afternoon it felt better and I could push more. It's just a shame we lost so much time this morning. That's really set us back. It'll be tough tomorrow as there are lots of new roads, but we've got to look at it as another day and hope we keep moving in this direction."

Andreas Mikkelsen [Ramsport Ford Focus RS WRC]:

"We had some engine problems this afternoon. Other than that it was a good day."

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

"I played around with the set-up today and made some good improvements with the damper clicks. We didn't get an opportunity to test before this rally so it just takes a stage or two to get things right. We are halfway there and will try some more tomorrow to make the balance even better. It's been a productive day, we are in a points position for the team and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's stages."

Conrad Rautenbach [PH Sport-Citroen C4 WRC]:

"It was not a bad day. I enjoyed the last stage and had a good feeling."

Brice Tirabassi [Subaru WRT]

"Today has been good for me, and the car has been good. I enjoyed it! It was slippery this morning, but by the end of today the times were coming down and I'm feeling better in the car. I'm happy with my performance today, and look forward to new roads and more time in the car tomorrow."

Federico Villagra [Munchi's Ford WRT]:

"I'm happy with the car and with the rally, especially because this is the only tarmac rally I do in the whole season. I think it's well organised, with everyone in the right place, both fans and staff."

Henning Solberg [Munchi's Ford WRT]:

"In some areas I felt more confident than in others, but I still need to improve a lot. I am just learning and trying to go faster."

Toni Gardemeister [Suzuki WRT]:

"After I heard about P-G's off on the second stage, I just drove carefully to the end of the morning's loop of stages. During service at midday I made a few changes and the car definitely felt better but we didn't really get the chance to show it as we caught a puncture 10 kilometres into SS5. We continued to the end and then changed the wheel for the last stage, but we had already lost two and a half minutes."

Sebastien Ogier [Citroen C2 S1600]: [Junior WRC class leader]

"I am pleased with the way the day has gone. We tried to build in a bit of a margin for error second time round because the roads were more soiled than they had been for the first pass. Everything has gone like clockwork so far. Our car has been perfectly reliable and competitive, our notes didn't need too much correcting and we didn't make any mistakes. There's still a long way to go, though, so it will be important to stay fully concentrated."

Martin Prokop [Citroen C2 S1600]: [Junior WRC - second in class]

"The day didn't really get off to a good start for myself and Jan [Tomanek - my co-driver] as we lost 40 seconds on the very first stage with a technical problem. Then we settled into quite a good day, as we set four second-fastest stage times plus one fastest stage time. We're going to try and gradually make up time on Sebastien Ogier over the next couple of days, with the main goal of hanging onto our podium place."

Notable retirements:

Per-Gunnar Andersson [Suzuki WRT]: [retired from day 1 in SS2 - went off the road - will re-start under SupeRally on Saturday]

"What happened on the second stage was my fault. We were just too quick approaching a left-hand corner about two kilometres from the end because my notes were a bit optimistic. We almost got round the corner but then we had a lot of understeer at the exit and went off down a steep bank. The car had no damage at all, but the bank was too steep to drive back up. It's a pity, but at least we have the chance to start again tomorrow."

Khalid Al Qassimi [BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT]: [retired from day 1 after SS6 - will re-start under SupeRally on Saturday]

"I felt I had driven well on the previous stage [SS5] but the time wasn't good so we decided to go for a big push on the last test [SS6]. Unfortunately I had a big spin and the car ended in a ditch. I got out it out and finished the stage but the differential began to make a noise on the road section. It got progressively worse and I had to stop. It's disappointing but I will restart tomorrow under SupeRally rules."

Team principals:

Olivier Quesnel [Citroen Total WRT - team principal]:

"Our two C4 WRCs are first and second this evening after the longest day of the rally, so I'm obviously very pleased about that. Both crews got the weekend off to a flying start and succeeded in posting the top two times on all six stages. The squad's remarkable team effort is paying dividends and the situation is looking favourable. It's up to us now to deliver the same sort of performance tomorrow. There's still a long way to go, however, and it will be vital to stay as motivated and focused as we have been today."

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

"I'm surprised at the size of the gap that the leading two cars opened during the first three stages. However, we made some changes to Mikko's car at service which resulted in him feeling more confident this afternoon, and both drivers are in strong positions for the second leg."

David Richards [Subaru WRT - managing director]:

"The limited amount of time we've spent on asphalt testing is apparent from today's times. However as the drivers become more familiar with the car in these conditions I'm sure the pace will pick up."

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

"It has been a positive start to the rally for the Stobart team and it's great to see both cars in manufacturer points positions at the end of the first day; that's exactly what we came here to do. They have both gone slightly quicker this afternoon after making some small changes at Service. The plan was to come here, get some points on the board and gather some information for Corsica next week so, with that in mind, I'm happy with how things are going."

Shusuke Inagaki [Suzuki WRT - team director]:

"Just as we expected, the opening day of the Rally de Espa?a has provided us with a big challenge, but I have to say that we were also a bit unlucky. A mistake with the pace notes is something that can happen, but it is a pity that this happened to P-G on only the second stage of the day and that there was a steep bank to prevent him from re-joining straight away. Toni had bad luck to pick up a puncture. Looking on the positive side, at least we end tonight with two cars that are intact and the chance still to drive two more challenging legs tomorrow and on Sunday."



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