Take-off time for the CitroŽn C4 WRCs
The CitroŽn Total World Rally Team and CitroŽn Junior Team crews profited from todayís shakedown run to fine-tune the set-ups of their respective C4 WRCs. The fastest time of the session was the work of Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena.

The morningís session ahead of this weekendís Rally Finland took place from 8am until noon and used the 3.76km test stage at Laajavuori. Five-time World Champions Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena posted the quickest time: a 2m 2.2s which put their CitroŽn Xsara WRC ahead of Petter Solberg. Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were third fastest.

Sťbastien Loeb goes into Rally Finland in second place in the provisional FIA World Rally Championship standings, one point behind Mikko Hirvonen. As a consequence, the Frenchman will run second on the road when the event proper begins on Friday: "Maybe that will give me a small advantage, even though there isnít that much íroad sweepingí to do on the stages here. At the same time, it means we are no longer leading the championship, so we will need to show some fight if we are to recover top spot. This yearís route is quite similar to what we have already seen in the past, but there are some new stages. Having total confidence in your notes is vital if you want to push hard on these roads. We had that confidence last year and I hope it will be the same again this time round. I found my car a real pleasure to drive during pre-event testing."

Sebís CitroŽn Total World Rally Team team-mate Dani Sordo is also targeting a strong finish in Finland: "Shakedown went well for us and I feel confident in my car thanks to the good set-up we found during pre-event testing. I am hoping to finish on the podium and score some big points. These stages are not only very fast, they are also very interesting and a thrill to drive. You need excellent pacenotes to get a feel for all the concealed corners."

The CitroŽn Junior Teamís Sťbastien Ogier and Evgeny Novikov have been nominated to score Manufacturersí points in Finland.

This is the French pairís second attempt at the event following their first visit with the C2-R2 MAX: "It will be very different this time, thatís for sure! Everybody knows what the main features of Rally Finland are. Itís a high-speed event which takes place over undulating terrain with countless concealed corners and crests. Youíve got to get your line just right at very fast speeds. That calls for a really big heart and you cannot afford to make any mistakes. My aim is to start cautiously and try to find the ideal pace as we go along."

Evgeny Novikov will be looking to follow up his recent remarkable run in Poland with another top performance on his maiden visit to Finland: "This is such a difficult rally when youíre doing it for the first time. All the concealed corners and crests call for really precise notes. The stages are excellent. My aim is to finish as high up the order as I can."

Conrad Rautenbach first visited Finland with the CitroŽn C4 WRC in 2008 and is looking forward to repeating the experience: "This rally is unique and I canít wait for it to start. We concentrated hard on our notes during recce. The stages are a big challenge, but thatís what makes them so interesting. We had a small problem with the engine during shakedown but the team has cured it and our car is in perfect shape."

The 2009 Rally Finland kicks off this evening at 6.15pm, with crews going on to contest the Killeri Hippodrome super-special at 7pm.

Shakedown times:
Sťbastien Loeb/Daniel Elena 2m 2.2s
Dani Sordo/Marc Marti 2m 3.3s
Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt 2m 4.5s
Sťbastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia 2m 5.7s
Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt 2m 7.2s

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