Sébastien Ogier up there with the best
Rally Mexico (4-7 March 2010) – Day 1

The Citroën Junior Team showed impressive form on the first day of the Rally Mexico, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia occupy an excellent second place thanks to four fastest times in nine stages. Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström had their progress halted after they went off the road.

From the ‘Alfaro’ stage this morning, the very first 22.96-kilometre test, the order of things soon became apparent. While the cars running at the front were forced to sweep the roads clean, the stages became faster for those who were following. From the beginning, Sébastien Ogier took advantage of his fifth place on the road to take second position. “I paid close attention to the way that I was driving, while avoiding unnecessary risks,” he said. “I knew that we had the chance to do something special this morning and I did not want to let the opportunity pass me by!”

Shortly before returning to the service park at midday, the number 7 Citroën C4 WRC set the fastest time on the short stage around the streets of León. In the afternoon, Sébastien Ogier continued to put in top class performances. He ended the day with three consecutive fastest stage times. “We took advantage of our start position and the competitiveness of our Citroën C4 WRC,” he reported. “Everything went perfectly. Tomorrow we will start second on the road. So the conditions are bound to be more difficult, but that’s all part of the learning curve.”

Kimi Räikkönen had a frustrating day. The Finn’s Citroën C4 WRC initially hit a rock on SS1. “The steering arm was bent, but we were able to repair it before the start of the next stage,” said the ‘Iceman’. “On the following stage, we then had to stop after three kilometres. It took us a while to find out the cause of the problem. It was simply a connector that had become undone.”

Despite steering that was still not entirely straight, Kimi managed to set some good times on the following two stages. In SS7, his rally came to an end though when he was caught out just before the finish of the stage. “The car just slid into the side of the road as we were going into a corner,” he said. “We rolled, but myself and Kaj are both fine.”

Citroën Junior Team manager Benoit Nogier concluded: “Kimi lost time this morning with a technical problem that was not at all his fault. Afterwards, he set some impressive times. He decided to up the pace on SS7, a stage where he felt comfortable. Unfortunately, he went off shortly before the stage finish and he won’t be able to start again under the Super Rallye rules tomorrow as the car is too badly damaged. Sébastien and Julien confirmed again today that they were able to mix it with the best drivers in the world. Thanks to their speed and their road position, they are in a well-deserved second place. We’re very pleased with our work today, which saw cars from Citroën Racing Technologies set every fastest stage time, thanks to Petter Solberg and Sébastien Ogier. This is an important first for us!”

Classification at the end of day one:
1. Solberg / Mills Citroën C4 1h20’23’’1
2. Ogier / Ingrassia Citroën C4 +15’’0
3. Loeb / Elena Citroën C4 +27’’5
4. Sordo / Marti Citroën C4 +40’’8
5. Latvala / Anttila Ford Focus +1’01’’2
6. Hirvonen / Lehtinen Ford Focus +1’31’’5
7. H. Solberg / Minor Ford Focus +1’37’’9
8. Wilson / Martin Ford Focus +2’44’’8
9. Villagra / Perez Companc Ford Focus +4’20’’3
10. Block / Gelsomino Ford Focus +4’25’’6…

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