16 Aug 08
Citroen Total team driver Dani Sordo got off to a good start on Saturday’s opening stage by moving ahead of Mikko Hirvonen and into second place.
Sordo began the day 5.7sec adrift of Hirvonen, but completed the 19km Bosenberg stage 7.5sec quicker than the Finn and moved 1.5 sec ahead on the overall leaderboard.
After struggling to get comfortable in his C4 WRC on Friday’s stages, Sordo said he was pleased with his Saturday set-up. “It’s good, the feeling is not the same as yesterday, and I feel happy,” he said. “I tried to go fast to catch Mikko and my time isn’t so bad. I need to keep him behind me now. We’ll see.”
Hirvonen said he’s had no particular problem through the stage - apart from the pace of the Citroens. “They’re both really pushing hard this morning,” Hirvonen said. “The Citroens must have magic tyres or something, but the fight’s still on. I just need to find a better rhythm.”
Fastest through the stage was Sebastien Loeb, who extended his rally lead by six seconds. “It’s okay but that was a difficult stage,” said Loeb. “It was a new challenge for all of us; running in the opposite direction for the first time. It was very narrow and fast; certainly not easy.”
Petter Solberg lost a few seconds with a small off road excursion: “It was on a very narrow section; we slid off the road a little bit and got stuck for a short while,” he said.
Urmo Aava completed the stage with panel damage to the rear of his privately entered Citroen C4. “I hit a tree,” explained Aava. “It was very slippery; the car felt nervous and was oversteering.” Despite the incident Aava held onto ninth place overall.