RALLY FINLAND – 28-30/07/2011 – PREVIEW
Citroën Racing takes on the Flying Finns on home turf!
1000 lakes, as many forests and a 55-point lead in the Manufacturers’ World Championship - the Citroën Total World Rally Team is tackling the second part of the season in the land of the Flying Finns with a lot of figures to be taken into account. Sébastien Loeb /Daniel Elena and Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia, respectively first and third in the Drivers’ World Championship, are competing in Rally Finalnd with the aim of continuing to reap a harvest of points. On the
Flying Finns’ favourite playground, the Winning French are determined to continue their run of victories.
The second half of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship is beginning with an away match for the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier are heading for Finland for the Jyväskylä Grand Prix where they will take on a horde of Finnish drivers. Seven have entered for this round of the WRC, including Kimi Räikkönen in the ICE1 Racing Citroën DS3 WRC.
Citroën has already conquered the 1000 Lakes, and its first victory goes back to 1962 when Pauli Toivonen and Jaakko Kallio won in a Citroën DS19. Twenty-six years later, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena scored their first victory on the ultra-quick Finnish roads.
In 2011, two Sébastiens will line up for the start determined to win, but also to count their points. “We’re going to be up against highly-motivated rivals who are ready to defend their territory,” emphasizes Sébastien Loeb who has scored 146 points so far. “The titles at the end of the season are still our main priority. Victory in Finland isn’t an out-and-out objective. Depending on how I feel I’ll see how hard I want to push. So far I’ve felt very much at ease on gravel in the DS3 WRC. If that’s how I feel in Finland, it’ll give my confidence an extra boost!”
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia made a big impression on their first outing in the event in a WRC in 2009. Last year, they drove a perfect rally and finished second only ten seconds behind the winner. “I’m going to do everything I can to be on the pace right from the first stage,” says Sébastien Ogier, who has scored 124 points in seven rallies. “It’s important to bag a big haul of points in Finland. We know it’s going to be a difficult rally against local drivers who are always redoubtable on their home turf. But a victory here isn’t beyond our grasp. My aim is to put myself in a confident frame of mind right from the green light and to really push in the opening kilometers. That’s what was missing last year.”
Rally Finland has a slightly out-of-sync schedule and will begin on Thursday 28th July with three stages of around forty timed kilometers. On Friday and Saturday two legs of 134 and 140 kilometers will sort out the drivers. The Power Stage, broadcasted live on television, will be held on Saturday 30th July at 19h11 (GMT +2).
Please also note that Sébastien Loeb and Kimi Raikkonen will alternate behind the wheel of the DS3 WRC for the Red Bull Road show taking place Sunday 24 July on the Esplanad in Helsinki (from 14:00)