CitroŽns drivers stay focused
After starting the second day of the 2009 Rally Finland with the firm intention of continuing his scrap with Mikko Hirvonen for first place, Sťbastien Loeb has been forced to switch his focus to defending second place following a puncture. Dani Sordo is just seconds away from a footing on the overnight podium and has his sights on finishing in the big points for the CitroŽn Total World Rally Team.

Following the opening dayís bright sunshine, competitors were greeted by wet weather for the beginning of the Finnish roundís second leg this morning. The programme for the day featured three loops of three stages which were split by visits to the service park in Jyvšskylš.

The times of the two front-runners on Leustu 1 (SS11, 21.35km) set the tone for the morning, with Sťbastien Loeb finishing 2.2 seconds behind Hirvonen: "I canít go any faster. Mikko has a small advantage because he is running first on the road and he is also depositing a thin layer of mud on my line. I can see where he is putting his wheels and he is going very quickly indeed. I am, too, but not quite as quicklyÖ" Dani Sordo faced even trickier conditions on his way to the third best time, 13.1s behind the leader: "There are places where Seb can opt for a slightly different line to that of Mikko, but I havenít really got any choice: Iíve just got to plough through the greasy top-coating."

Sťbastien Loeb and Daniel Elena dropped further seconds on Himos 1 and Surkee 1, and the CitroŽn pair checked in at the dayís first service halt with a deficit of 10.9s to make up. The sun was back out for the 30-minute break, after which crews headed out for a second visit to the same three tests.

Sťbastien Loebís bid for victory took a blow on SS15 (Himos 2), however: "My front-right wheel got caught in a rut which unseated my tyre, letting practically all the air out. The gap is now up to 26 seconds, which basically means weíve got little chance of winning now under normal circumstances. The important thing will be to keep my car on the road, and thatís not easy on stages like this."

Dani Sordo had a similar misadventure on the following test (Surkee 2, SS16): "I clipped a stone and I was sure I had punctured. I dropped a little time and that was sufficient for Latvala to pass me. I found todayís stages a bit more difficult on the whole, but Jari-Matti has upped his pace, too."

Following the dayís second service halt in Jyvšskylš, the day ended with a final loop of three stages, and Sťbastien Loebís objective was now to defend second place: "We tried a number of adjustments to the set-up of my C4 WRC, but that didnít really change anything. Indeed, I am pretty happy with its handling. Itís just that Mikko has got the edge this weekend. I will continue to keep up a strong pace just in case anything happens, but my goal is now to finish second and try to make sure of scoring eight points." Dani Sordo and Marc Marti also profited from the final loop to consolidate their position: "We are only about 10 seconds behind Latvala, but we havenít lost sight of our objective. CitroŽn needs points to help its lead in the Manufacturersí World Championship. We canít afford to take big risks just to gain an extra point."

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