30 May 08
Total-Citroen team driver Dani Sordo deliberately dropped from second to third place on the last of Friday’s ‘proper’ rally stages, promoting Jari-Matti Latvala into second.
The tactical move will ensure that Latvala drives through Saturday’s stages before Sordo, and should enable the Spaniard to benefit from a cleaner racing line on the sand covered roads.
Sordo’s shrewd move on Latvala is similar to the one both Ford drivers played on him in Jordan when they slowed on Saturday’s final stage, forcing Sordo into a reluctant lead.
This afternoon Sordo judged his pace perfectly through the 17km Psatha stage, to swap his 3.9sec advantage over Latvala for a 2.7sec deficit.
At the finish control Sordo winked at the waiting journalists from his C4 WRC and said he was pleased to have lost the place. “I’m very glad to be behind Jari-Matti,” said Sordo. “It’s good, I’m happy with this position, we’ll see tomorrow how things work out.”
Sebastien Loeb was the fastest driver on the stage and extended his rally lead to 12.8 seconds. “It was very rough in there and not good for the car,” said Loeb. “There were a lot of places where the suspension had to work very hard.”
Further proof of the tough conditions was provided by Chris Atkinson and Jari-Matti Latvala who both left the stage with damage to their cars.
Atkinson reported a right-hand front puncture on his Impreza WRC2008, but had to stop on the road section to the Superspecial to repair a damaged suspension arm. While the right-hand rear wheel of Latvala’s Ford Focus RS WRC was knocked out of alignment by a rock on the last corner.