13 Jun 08
Citroen-Total team director Olivier Quesnel has voiced his disapproval of the tactics employed by the BP-Ford team to keep Sebastien Loeb first on the road on Saturday’s stages.
“For us I think what happened was good news because it means Sebastien and Citroen are very difficult to beat and they [Ford] needed to use a special [tactical] thing,” said Quesnel. “But anyway, we are not yet on Sunday, but I hope for Malcolm [Wilson] Saturday will be good otherwise I’d prefer to be in my position than his. Malcolm told me in Greece that Sebastien is the cleverest driver, so I know why he did it tonight.
“I actually think that the stages tomorrow will be easier for Sebastien. So maybe they did the wrong thing, I don’t know yet. But what I can say? We have done seven rallies this year and we won five of them. We just let Sebastien drive fast and we don’t need anything else. I understand that Malcolm needs to win sometimes,” he concluded.
Malcolm Wilson, team principal of the BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, responded by saying that tactical driving was just another part of the modern WRC - even though he personally favoured a different set of rules.
“Okay, we don’t make the regulations but we operate according to them,” said Wilson. “I’ll be honest, we weren’t in favour of changing the system from last year’s [when the top 15 ran in reverse]. But in all honestly we are looking at ways try and raise the profile of this championship and the comments I have had so far are that it’s a very interesting story. But I can understand how Oliver feels and I know - although he maybe won’t admit it tonight - that Dani [Sordo] did something a little bit similar on one of the rallies this year. Maybe Sebastien didn’t - as he says - maybe Sebastien didn’t need to. But its very early days on this rally, we’ve seen again today how difficult this event is. We won’t know how important tonight has been until Sunday.”