Citroen dominated the dry shakedown session for ADAC Rally Deutschland. The French marque ended the shakedown with five of it’s C4 World Rally cars featuring in the top seven times on the 5.9km stage.
The Citroen Total World Rally Team and the Citroen Junior Team driver’s took time out after the shakedown session to express their feelings.
Six-time World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb, set the third fastest time on the shakedown stage, but is electing to push only if he feels completely comfortable, else he will be happy to accumulate points to bolster his healthy championship advantage.
Speaking after shakedown, Loeb said “The championship is more important, we will see how I feel. If I feel well, like in previous years, and I am able to fight for the victory and being confident in the car at the same time, then for sure, I will try [to win]”.
“If I feel I am fighting with another driver and it’s too dangerous, I can secure second place, I have no idea at the moment”, added Loeb.
Prior to the German rally, Loeb leads the WRC standings with 166-points to his name, and some 48-points clear of his nearest rival, Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier was at the bottom of the Citroen pile in terms of the shakedown times, but can never be underestimated, as his second place in the championship standings shows.
He intends to use the German rally to develop and perfect his skills, and as he is back in the Citroen Junior Team for the event, he can push harder without fear of throwing away valuable championship points.
“I think the goal is to try to progress and to improve our speed” said Ogier.
Asphalt is not his Ogier’s strongest surface as yet, and he admits it will be difficult to keep up with the sealed surface specialists in the field.
“I think it will not be easy for me to fight with the best” added the young Frenchman.
Kimi Raikkonen has had somewhat of a baptism of fire in his first full season in top-level rallying, but the former Formula 1 World Champion will not be relying on his extensive asphalt experience for the very different nature of the German stages.
“It’s not really tarmac, there’s a lot of concrete and different tarmac, and a stony concrete surface”, said Raikkonen of the varying surfaces which the WRC drivers will face in the Trier based event.
The shakedown session was held in dry conditions, but recent rainfall has given Raikkonen extra food for thought.
“There has been quite a lot of rain, so the insides of corners are very soft” said Raikkonen.
The dirt then gets brought out onto the road, and more so as more cars pass.
“It only gets worse and worse when cars go past, that’s going to be a challenge”, added the Finn.
His time from the shakedown was god enough for fourth overall.
Dani Sordo topped the shakedown, albeit tied with Petter Solberg on 3:39.4.
So far in 2010, Sordo has been moved between the two factory backed Citroen teams, but for Germany he is back in the Citroen Total World Rally Team for the asphalt event.
Speaking after the session, the Spaniard said “In the shakedown, everything was really good”, adding “I’m really happy with the setup [of the car]”.
Adding to Sordo’s German adventure, is the presence of a new face alongside him. Diego Vallejo has replaced Sordo’s long-time co-driver, with the pairs first World event being Rally Deutschland.
Speaking of this, Sordo said “It’s his first time with me in the car, the recce was good, and shakedown was not bad”.
“I will try to beat Sebastien [Loeb]”, said Sordo, clearly laying out his goal for the rally on his favourite surface.