CitroŽn heads east
WRC newcomer Rally Poland promises to be an important fixture for CitroŽn Total World Rally Team. Both the team and its best-placed crew Sťbastien Loeb/Daniel Elena will start the eighth round of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship at the top of their respective points tables, but they will be eager to return to their winning ways with a view to extending their cushion over their rivals. Similarly, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti will be out to capitalise on their progress to score a podium finish.

After being one of the mainstay rounds of the European Championship for many years, Rally Poland has this year gained full WRC status. Based in Mikolajki, north of Warsaw, it takes place close to Polandís borders with Belarus and Lithuania, so a large number of rally fans from eastern Europe Ė where the sport is hugely popular Ė are likely to profit from prospect of WRC action to make the trip to Mikolajki. For the record, the inaugural Rally Poland was organised in 1921 and the event was included as a qualifying round of the 1973 World Championship.

Just as they will be for the majority of their fellow competitors, the Polish stages will be new to the two CitroŽn Total World Rally Team crews, although Sťbastien Loeb and Dani Sordo were each able to get in two days of testing near Mikolajki before the start. "I havenít seen much of the country for the moment," admits Sťbastien Loeb, "but I plan to make up for that on the weekend before the start, since CitroŽn has organised a road show in the streets of Warsaw on the Sunday afternoon. I hope the atmosphere will be as electric as it was in Buenos Aires a few weeks back! During testing, I got a chance to drive the C4 WRC in both dry and wet conditions. The stages are quite fast and not too rough, so they should be interesting. I think we should enjoy ourselves."

"Itís a bit like Finland, but narrower, and with fewer jumps," continues Dani Sordo. "The surface is softer, too, with a high number of sandy portions. I like sandy conditions and I think it has the makings of being a great event."

Neither crew had particularly successful runs in Sardinia or Greece. As a consequence, Sťbastien Loeb is now just seven points clear of Mikko Hirvonen in the Driversí standings, while the gap between CitroŽn and Ford at the top of the Manufacturersí table has been whittled down to 15 points.

"That obviously puts additional pressure on our shoulders," recognises Seb. "Our season got off to a flying start, but the last two rallies havenít gone quite so well. It would be a pity to throw everything away."

"Personally, I canít wait to get back behind the wheel of my C4 to try to put the disappointment I suffered in Greece behind me," adds Dani. "I really felt I could have won the Acropolis Rally; everything seemed to be flowing so naturally. Itís now up to us to bounce back, while at the same time bearing in mind that CitroŽn is above all in need of Manufacturersí points."

The windscreen sunstrips of the two C4 WRCs that will contest Rally Poland will feature two Chinese characters which quite simply translate as íC4í and which are intended to highlight the modelís outstanding results on the Chinese market.

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