A snowy morning for the Citroën C4 WRCs
The shakedown for this year’s Rally Norway, round two of the 2009 World Rally Championship, took place this morning using a 3.35km stage near Nydal. The combination of deep snow and sub-zero temperatures of down to minus 20°C provided ideal conditions for the team’s first taste of winter.

Sébastien Loeb posted the morning’s fastest performance with a time of 1m 59.3s for each of his last two runs: "This bitterly cold weather has provided ideal conditions for a winter rally! The stages are magnificent, especially those we will contest on Saturday. A snowplough will go through tomorrow’s tests, so we’ll have to see what sort of influence that has…"

Dani Sordo was the third quickest driver, completing the test stage half a second slower than his Citroën Total World Rally Team team-mate: "It’s been a good morning. We made good progress during the session because it enabled us to eliminate the understeer problem we had to begin with. There’s a lot of snow around, and I think we’ll be doing a lot of sweeping tomorrow."

For his first drive in the Citroën Junior Team C4 WRC, Evgeny Novikov completed four runs: "We got in some good testing last week, covering something like 300km. This morning, we were able to make one or two fine-tuning adjustments to the car’s set-up before the start. Our objective is to reach the finish without having to make use of the SupeRally ruling."

Having contributed to the Citroën Junior Team’s points harvest in Ireland, Conrad Rautenbach would like to repeat that performance this weekend in Norway: "Everything went well this morning and we were able to get in six passes. There’s a great deal of snow about and it’s really very cold. Today’s run enabled us to find our marks in these conditions which aren’t at all what we are accustomed to!"

Sébastien Ogier is discovering the joys of competing on snow here in Norway: "The stages are fantastic. There’s so much snow, and we profited from this morning’s run to test a couple of suspension tweaks. Our recent testing was an enormous help. We will be fifth on the road tomorrow, so the conditions could well be favourable to us."

The start ceremony gets underway this evening at 7pm at Oslo’s Bjerke Hippodrome. Sébastien Loeb will drive Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg in a Citroën C4 WRC HybriD4. In this car, WRC technology is combined with a battery pack that is recharged by the energy recovered during braking in specials. This sporting vehicle can also be powered by an electric motor on non-timed liaison sections. It then functions in total silence and with no CO2 emissions. Competitive action will begin with a short super-special which is scheduled to follow at 8pm.

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