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Mexican Hat-Trick for Loeb and Citroen

March 3rd, 2008





Citroen’s Sebastian Loeb took his third Mexican win at the weekend (29 February – 2 March 2008) in the first American round of the 2008 World Rally Championship, enabling him to edge to within one point of the lead of the Drivers Championship.

 

But it was a less successful weekend for his team mate, Dani Sordo, who damaged his suspension on stage on, forcing him out of the event. He re-entered on day two under the SuperRally rules to finish 17th overall.

 

Loeb made a slow start to the event, letting Ford’s Latvala take the lead and it was not until the second day that Loeb, taking advantage of the fact the first on the road Latvala was sweeping the stages, took the lead. Latvala’s charge came to an end when a broken turbo charge pipe handed the Citroen driver a secure lead.


Speaking at the finish, Loeb added that he enjoyed the fight with Latvala and that it was crucial he got a good haul of points this weekend after his failure in Sweden. Indeed the ten points he notched up moved him to within one point of re-taking the lead in the race for the 2008 drivers' title.

"I'm delighted to have won here. Following our blank scorecard in Sweden, it was important to try to bounce back straight away," he said. "It wasn't easy and, as often seems to be the case in Mexico, we had a troubled start, but the rest of the event went very well for us!

"It's the sort of victory I like because it came after a good fight. Marcus Grönholm's absence has already been filled by another Finn who is younger and just as determined. I think we can look forward to some good scraps this year, and that's fine by me!

"For this weekend's hard-packed stages, Pirelli took the safe choice with a very hard compound in a bid to ward off punctures. We effectively didn't suffer any, but we had to adjust our set-up to improve traction.

"The team responded well and our times here with the C4 WRC
are an encouraging pointer for the rest of the year."

Citroen boss Olivier Quesnel meanwhile was happy to see Loeb driver win again, a result that moves Citroen up to joint second in the manufacturers' championship, 12 points behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

 

"Today's win is a great reward for everyone at Citroen Sport and everybody kept their eye on the ball throughout," he said. "We reacted well to match the set-up of the C4 so well to the specific characteristics of the Mexican stages and produce such a highly competitive package. Sebastien has closed to within a point of the current Drivers' championship leader and Citroen has stabilised the gap in the Manufacturers' standings.”

 

Rally statistics

 

Stage wins

Day 1: SS1: Jari­Matti Latvala (Ford Focus) – SS2 and SS3: Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C4) – SS4: Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza) – SS5 and SS6: JM. Latvala – SS7: P. Solberg – SS8: S. Loeb.

Day 2: SS9, 10: S. Loeb – SS11: Dani Sordo (Citroën C4) – SS12: S. Loeb – SS13: D. Sordo – SS14 : Henning Solberg – SS15: S. Loeb and H. Solberg – SS16: S. Loeb and Chris Atkinson (Subaru Impreza).

Day 3: SS17: JM. Latvala ­SS18: Cancelled – SS19: Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Focus) – SS20: D. Sordo.

 

Best performers: S. Loeb, 8 stage wins (2 ex) – JM.

Latvala, 4 – D. Sordo, 3 – P. Solberg, 2 – H. Solberg, 2 (1 ex) – C. Atkinson 1 (1 ex) – M. Hirvonen, 1.

 

Leader: SS1 to SS9: JM. Latvala – SS10 to SS20: S. Loeb.

 

Final leaderboard on 5th Mexico Rally*

1. S. Loeb/D. Elena (Citroën C4) 3 h 33 min 29,9 s
2. C. Atkinson/S. Prevot (Subaru Impreza) + 1 min 06,1 s
3. JM. Latvala/M. Anttila (Ford Focus) + 1 min 39,7 s
4. M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford Focus) + 3 min 38,7 s
5. H. Solberg/C. Menkerud (Ford Focus) + 4 min 57,9 s
6. M. Wilson/M. Scott (Ford Focus) + 6 min 28,9 s
7. F. Villagra/J. Pérez-Companc (Ford Focus) + 19 min 03 s
8. R. Triviño/C. Salom (Peugeot 206) + 21 min 17,3 s
9. S. Ogier/J. Ingrassia (Citroën C2) + 25 min 24,9 s
10. J. Mölder/F. Miclotte (Suzuki Swift) + 26 min 56,8 s
../..
17. D. Sordo/M. Martí (Citroën C4) + 34 min 15,1 s

FIA World rally Championships rankings Manufacturers (round 3/15)*

1. Ford, 37 points
2. Citroën Total, 25 pts
2. Subaru, 25 pts
4. Stobart, 19 pts
5. Munchi’s, 6 pts
6. Suzuki, 5 pts

FIA World rally Championships rankings Drivers (round 3/15)*

1. M . Hirvonen, 21 points
2. S. Loeb, 20 pts
3.
J.M. Latvala, 16 pts
4. C .
Atkinson, 14 pts
5. P. Solberg, 9 pts
5. G. Galli, 9 pts
7. F . Duval, 5 pts
8. A .
Mikkelsen, 4 pts
8. H. Solberg, 4 pts
10. D. Sordo, 3 pts
10. M. Wilson, 3 pts
12. J.M. Cuoq, 2 pts
12. F. Villagra, 2 pts
12. T. Gardemeister, 2 pts
15.
P.G. Andersson, 1 pt
15. J. Hänninen, 1 pt
15. R. Triviño, 1 pt

*Subject to final publications of the results by the FIA.


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