A rutted run for the CitroŽn C4 WRCs
This morningís shakedown saw the CitroŽn Total World Rally Team and the CitroŽn Junior Team concentrate on adapting the set-ups of their C4 WRCs to Rally Polandís highly specific terrain. The best time was posted by Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena at first attempt.

The CitroŽn Total World Rally Teamís adventure in Poland kicked off with last Sundayís road show in the countryís capital. Some 15,000 spectators from across the country turned out to watch the C4 WRCs perform a demonstration display round the Warsaw Rallyís famous street stage in the hands of Sťbastien Loeb and Dani Sordo, not to mention runs from C2-R2 MAX drivers competing in the 2009 Polish CitroŽn Racing Trophy.

After recce, which is always a particularly important exercise when contesting a rally that counts toward the World Rally Championship for the first time, competitors turned their attention to this morningís shakedown.

"Our first run went well," commented Sťbastien Loeb after posting the best time, "but the stage soon cut up, with big ruts beginning to form. Thatís something we will have to contend with on this weekendís second passes, and we tried to find a set-up that works in these conditions. Running first on the road on Day 1 shouldnít be a handicap. Our aim will be to push as hard as possible, without going offÖ We have squandered too many points on the last two rallies, and we thatís a trend we need to reverse."

Sebís approach is shared by team-mates Dani Sordo and Marc Marti: "Itís going to be a tough event. The stages, which are new for everyone, are fast, narrow and also damp. Our aim is to finish on the podium and secure points for both championships. Shakedown wasnít easy: there were lots of ruts and the car was moving about quite a bit. There will be little margin for error."

The technical squad working with the CitroŽn Junior Team also focused on setting up the different C4 WRCs based on the feedback received from the crews.

"The shakedown put us straight into the thick of things," observed Conrad Rautenbach who is co-driven by Daniel Barritt. "This morningís stage was basically divided into parts, with an initial twisty run through the forest followed by a faster section. The conditions were good for our first run which went well, but the stage had cut up badly by the time we made our second pass. We tried several set-ups in a bid to find the best solution for tomorrow. This event is new for everyone. If it stays dry, I hope we can put in a good performance, at least as good as our result in Greece."

Based on their five attempts at the shakedown test, Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt also expect it to be a complex event: "Iíve never taken part in such a fast rally. It should be fun, but it will be important to stay focused from start to finish. I am pleased with the improvements we made to the set-up. My aim is to reach the finish. Even a small mistake could prove very costly hereÖ"

After finishing second in Greece, Sťbastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are in a relaxed frame prior to the start of the yearís eighth round: "The stages are very fast and the ground is soft. The conditions deteriorate quickly and worsen with every passing car. The second runs promise to be quite a handful because itís the stage which tends to steer the car! From what I saw this morning, it promises to be a very complex weekendÖ"

The Rally Poland starts at 7pm this evening, with competitors then tackling the super-special alongside the Mikolajki service area from 8pm.

Rally Poland shakedown times:
Sťbastien Loeb/Daniel Elena: 2m 13.5s
Dani Sordo/Marc Marti: 2m 15.8s
Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt: 2m 19.9s
Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt: 2m 15.0s
Sťbastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia: 2m 19.7s

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