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FIA World Rally Championship

Rally Australia: Citroen Lead In To Day Three

2 Mins read

Despite slowing to gain a better position for day three, Citroen have topped the tables at the end of day two after a bistering session on the superspecial of Murwillumbah.

During SS23 Sordo and Loeb had deliberately slowed to drop behind championship leader Mikko Hirvonen to gain a tactical advantage, with the Finn having to clear the loose gravel from the stage surfaces first thing.

With the positions set for day three after SS23, the Citroen drivers blitzed the superspecial stages with Sebastien Ogier setting the fastest times on all six occasions.

Both SS24 and SS25 saw Ogier, Loeb, Latvala and Sordo finish in front of Hirvonen, leaving Dani Sordo 0.1 seconds ahead of team-mate Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen who finished the day on a total time of 1:52:38.2.

Sordo talked of the perfect day for the team but remained focused on the task ahead saying “Tomorrow is still a long day but the positions for me and Sebastien are very good. Mikko will clean the road a bit and I will try to push hard and also try to clean a little bit more for Sebastien.”

Reigning champ Sebastien Loeb said: “If it’s not too dusty in the morning I think we have the best road position for Sunday. But I know Mikko can be very fast – even first on the road – we saw that on the first day. We will try for sure, but it's a long day tomorrow and that’s one of the reasons we decided on our tactics. If it was only 50km to go then maybe 15 seconds would have been enough to keep, but 120km is too much.”

Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen refused to give up the fight but realises that he has a big task ahead of him for day three starting ahead of the Citroens.“It’s going to be a difficult day tomorrow,” acknowledged Hirvonen. “I wasn’t planning to be first car on the road on Sunday, but that’s how it is now, so I have to do all I can. It was a tough situation on SS23; I couldn't do much against Citroen because they were behind me, so I just pushed as hard as I could and this is what happened! It's not over yet though, anything can happen tomorrow and you never know, maybe I’ll go flat out and be faster on the loose gravel. I haven’t given up.”

Other news from the day is that Henning Solberg holds sixth place behind Ogier, despite a crash on SS17 which cost him a minute and broke one of his fingers.

Top 10 positions at the end of day two:

Pos  Driver              Car           Time/Gap
 1.  Dani Sordo          Citroen     1h52m28.1s
 2.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen      +    0.1s
 3.  Mikko Hirvonen      Ford         +    0.1s
 4.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford         +   44.4s
 5.  Sebastien Ogier     Citroen      +   46.2s
 6.  Henning Solberg     Ford         + 2m42.4s
 7.  Matthew Wilson      Ford         + 2m43.2s
 8.  Federico Villagra   Ford         + 3m59.8s
 9.  Hayden Paddon       Mitsubishi   + 9m16.0s
10.  Martin Prokop       Mitsubishi   + 9m29.3s
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