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Leob Lost in the Dust, but Sordo Finishes Second for Citroen in Jordan - (Global)

April 28th, 2008

Citroën’s hope of a win in the inaugural World Rally Championship Rally of Jordan came to a smashing halt in a bizarre accident off the competitive stages, with World Champion Loeb sidelined after leading the event, but his team mate, Dani Sordo took second place after a very tactical final day enabled Ford to win the event.

Dani Sordo took the lead on the event, held in desert dust and date farms alongside the Dead Sea and the River Jordan all below sea level, while Loeb settled into the event, but then handed over the lead to Loeb, who appeared to have a lock on the event, with Citroën leading 1-2 ahead of the Fords.

However, it all came to a bizarre halt for Loeb on a narrow link road between stages 10 and 11 on the second day. Driving through a cloud of swirling desert dust, he met fellow Citroën C4 WRC driver Conrad Rautenbach coming in the other direction and, unable to take avoiding action, a head on accident was inevitable. Both cars retired on the spot, with Loeb rejoining the event under the SuperRally rules on the second day, earning Citroën a manufacturers’ point and using the final day to test car and tyres.

Handed the lead, Sordo started the final day as the road sweeper, clearing a path through the dust down the desert tracks and providing a cleaner, faster, driver for the following cars.

"I was fully aware this morning that the cards weren't stacked in our favour,” acknowledged the young Spaniard, "but I tried to put that to the back of my mind and push as hard as possible. That paid because we were only 7.7 seconds of the lead after the first loop, and there was still everything to play for second time round."

All most inevitably, they handed over the lead to Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen. Dani and Marc left the lunchtime service park intent on giving it their very best shot on the final afternoon.

"I did all I could to recover the lead but it wasn't enough," reported Dani. "Even so, I am pleased with our performance this weekend. We led on two occasions and I was delighted with my feeling at the wheel of the Citroën C4 WRC from start to finish. The rally was quite stressful but it was also beneficial for me. I'm sure the experience will come in useful on the forthcoming events."

For the Citroën Team it will be a rally to remember, mainly for the wrong reasons.

"What a rally," exclaimed Olivier Quesnel "I don't think we will forget the in augural Jordan Rally in a hurry; a real emotional roller-coaster. Dani and Marc did all they could to win today and only narrowly failed. We can leave here with our heads held high. True, our rivals go away with more points than us but the competitiveness of the C4 WRC and the superior performance of Sébastien Loeb are positive pointers for the rest of the season. I would also like to congratulate Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia on their second consecutive Junior win with their Citroën C2 S1600."

Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena profited from the SuperRally ruling to restart this morning after being hit by the car of another competitor on a road section yesterday. They used the last leg to do some test work.

"It was especially useful to see how our Pirelli Scorpion tyres stood up to the long stage," pointed out the reigning World Champion. "There was also a chance we score points for Citroën. We are now five points behind in the Drivers' standings but they won't be impossible to makeup. There is still along way to go this season and the way our C4 performed here was very encouraging."


Rally statistics

Stage wins
Day 1: SS1: Dani Sordo (Citroën C4) and P. Solberg – SS2 and SS3: D. Sordo – SS4:
Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C4) – SS5: JM. Latvala (Ford Focus) – SS6 and SS7: S. Loeb – SS8: Mikko Hirvonen (Ford Focus).
Day 2: SS9, SS10 and SS11 S. Loeb – SS12: D. Sordo – SS13: M. Hirvonen – SS14, SS15 andSS16: Gigi Galli (Ford Focus).
Day 3: SS17: M. Hirvonen – SS18 and SS19: S. Loeb – SS20: JM. Latvala – SS21: S. Loeb – SS22: M. Hirvonen.

Best performers: S. Loeb, 9 stages win – D. Sordo, 4 (1 ex) – M. Hirvonen, 4 – G. Galli, 3 – JM. Latvala, 2 – P. Solberg, 1 (1ex).

Leaders: SS1: D. Sordo and P. Solberg – SS2 to SS8: D. Sordo – SS9 to SS11: S. Loeb – SS12: D. Sordo – SS13 to SS15: JM. Latvala – SS16: D. Sordo – SS17: JM. Latvala – SS18 to SS22: M. Hirvonen.

Final leaderboard on 1st Jordan Rally*
1. M. Hirvonen/J. Lehtinen (Ford Focus) 4 h 02 min 47,9 s
2. D. Sordo/M. Martí (Citroën C4) + 1 min 15,7 s
3. C. Atkinson/S. Prevot (Subaru Impreza) + 4 min 59,5 s
4. H. Solberg/C. Menkerud (Ford Focus) + 7 min 35,8 s
5. M. Wilson/M. Scott (Ford Focus) + 10 min 41,7 s
6. F. Villagra/J. Pérez-Companc (Ford Focus) + 11 min 22,2 s
7. JM. Latvala/M. Anttila (Ford Focus) + 12 min 15,6 s
8. G. Galli/G. Bernarcchini (Ford Focus) + 12 min 24,4 s
9. K. Al-Qassimi/M. Orr (Ford Focus) + 19 min 05,7 s
10. S. Loeb/D. Elena (Citroën C4) + 23 min 38,1 s


FIA World rally Championship’s rankings ‘Manufacturers’ (round 5/15)*
1. Ford, 57 points – 2. Citroën­Total, 50 pts – 3. Subaru, 39 pts – 4. Stobart, 28 pts – 5. Munchi's, 14 pts – 6. Suzuki, 6 pts.

FIA World rally Championship’s rankings ‘Drivers’ (round 5/15)*

1. M. Hirvonen, 35 points – 2. S. Loeb, 30 pts – 3. C. Atkinson, 28 pts – 4. JM Latvala, 18 pts – 5. D. Sordo, 17 pts – 6. G. Galli, 12 pts – 7. P. Solberg, 9 pts – 8. H. Solberg, 9 pts – 9. F. Villagra, 8 pts – 10. M. Wilson, 7 pts – 11.C.Rautenbach,5pts – 12. F. Duval, 5 pts – 13. A. Mikkelsen, 4 pts – 14. JM. Cuoq, 2 pts – 15. T. Gardemeister, 2 pts – 16. A. Aigner, 1 pt – 17. PG. Andersson, 1 pt – 18. J. Hänninen, 1 pt – 19.S.Ogier,1pt.



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