The CitroŽn C4 WRCs complete the pre-start íwarm-upí
All five CitroŽn C4 WRCs took part in this morningís shakedown session ahead of this weekendís 2009 Acropolis Rally of Greece. The weather was extremely hot as the CitroŽn Total World Rally Team and CitroŽn Junior Team crews put the finishing touches to the set-ups of their respective C4 WRCs for the three-day event. Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt produced the morningís fastest time ahead of Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.

As provisional leaders of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will be first on the road when competitive actions begins tomorrow (Friday): "This is an event which calls for a cautious approach. What we saw during recce confirmed that this promises to be an extremely tough rally. It is very hot, the terrain is predominantly rough and there are numerous stages that are new. The abrasive tracks promise to be especially hard-wearing and there is a big risk of picking up a puncture. We will also have a great deal of íroad-sweeping to do on the first day, so there are many parameters that need to be taken into account. Shakedown went well for us and I am pleased with my car."

Dani Sordo and Marc Marti completed three runs of the 3.1km shakedown stage which was six kilometres from the Loutraki service area: "This has the makings of being a great rally, with extremely difficult conditions and very high temperatures. Tyre wear promises to be a decisive factor, so we will need to take special care of our rubber on the longer stages. This is one of the few events where you canít drive flat from start to finish. You need to keep your style very smooth and not drive too aggressively. Shakedown showed that the stages are quickly swept clean, and I am happy with my car. Our objective is to finish on the podium."

After finishing fifth in Sardinia three weeks ago, Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt will be hoping to achieve a similar result in Greece, and the crew of the yellow-liveried C4 WRC hit the ground running this morning: "Most of the stages are new. Some are fast, while others are narrow, but they all tend to be quite slippery. The conditions are very different to what we saw in Sardinia. This morningís shakedown went well and our car is perfectly set up for this event. My aim is to reach the finish and post some quick times with a view to picking up a few points."

Sťbastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are targeting the same objective: "This is another rally which is new to us. I hope we manage to get through it without making any mistakes. It is an event that is tough on the cars and tyres, so it will be important to pace ourselves well in order to keep out of trouble. We had a foretaste of the heat when we did the recce without air-conditioning, and it will be important to drink plenty of water to stay focused during the long stages. The tracks tend to rut quite quickly, as we saw on this morningís shakedown. The second passes promise to be a bit of a handful."

CitroŽn Racing hosted a special guest this morning in the person of the world famous basketball star Theodoros Papaloukas. The Olympiakos captain, winner of the Euroleague, 2005 European Champion and 2005 World Championship finalist with the Greek national squad was invited by Sťbastien Loeb to take a seat inside the CitroŽn C4 WRC. After six seasons with CSKA Moscow, the two-metre tall player was also able to chat with Evgeny Novikov in Russian.

The 2009 Acropolis Rally of Greece kicks off this evening with a ceremonial start on the bridge that straddles the impressive Corinth Canal. Competitive action begins tomorrow morning.

Shakedown times:
Sťbastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: 2m 19.8s
Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: 2m 21.2s
Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt: 2m 19.8s
Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt: 2m 26.5s
Sťbastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia: 2m 22.3s

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