The Citroen Junior team wrapped up their asphalt ‘test’ at the Rally della Lanterna in style, with a close 1-2 finish for their drivers Sebastien Ogier and Kimi Raikkonen.
While Ogier focused on collecting data to improve his setup and tyre choices for the WRC asphalt events, Kimi’s objective was simply to drive as well as possible. With the possibility of rainstorms for the opening loop, Ogier took the harder compound tyre while Raikkonen went conservative and took softs.
“We're not here to win, but instead to test for the four remaining asphalt rounds on the WRC this year,” explained Ogier. “So this is a good opportunity to find out how the tyres behave in unaccustomed conditions.”
By the end of the loop Raikkonen was leading by half a minute, Ogier struggling for grip on cold tyres. However with better weather on the way, both drivers were on soft tyres and thus had equal equipment at their disposal.
It showed in the afternoon loop – Ogier made up 13 seconds to Raikkonen on SS5, and a minor accident for the latter meant the gap narrowed to just 2.4 seconds with 1 stage remaining. As expected, Ogier finished off the Finn and took victory by just over 5 seconds.
“It's always great to win a rally, but above all I'm pleased to have been able to test a variety of different things on the car,” said Ogier. “I feel much better prepared now for the remaining rounds of the championship.”