Loeb looks to extend winning run

Loeb looks to extend winning runFrom Citroen Press [ 21/03/2008 ].
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Rally Argentina has so much that makes it a unique experience, from the tremendous welcome of its aficionados, the turn-by-turn descriptions of the radio commentators and the region's breathtaking landscapes, to the makeshift asados barbecuing what could well be the best meat in the world and also some of the sport's most selective stages.

 

 

This year, the
South American event is the fourth round of the 2008 WRC and Citroën has entered its usual
crews Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí, while a private C4 tended by
PH Sport with support from Citroën Technologies technicians has been entered by Conrad
Rautenbach/David Senior.

During week the event is in town, rally fever takes over the city of Cordoba and the otherwise
peaceful shores of San Roque Lake in Villa Carlos Paz where the service park is based.
Thousands of spectators are expected to line this year's 347.91km of stages which will take
crews across the gravel tracks that wind through the sierra high above the Punilla,
Calamuchita and Traslasierra valleys.

"Argentina is one of the most complete rallies of the season," says Citroën Sport's Technical
Manager Xavier Mestelan-Pinon. "The drivers face several different types of surface, ranging
from smooth and hard-packed to rough and sandy. There are some high-speed jumps which
call for a certain amount of caution, too, as well as numerous water-splashes which are one
of this event's specialities. It takes good notes to know exactly how fast each one can be
tackled. Our first visit here with the C4 last year showed that the car was competitive. This
time round, with one year's extra experience under our belts and following the testing done
by the team with the car on Pirelli tyres, we hope we have succeeded in taking our package
further forward and that we can come away from Argentina with a top result."

With six previous starts to his name, Marc Martí is the most experienced of Citroën Sport's
four crew members here. "The atmosphere in Argentina is something else," he beams. "It's a
bit like home soil for us, too, and I have many fond memories of the event, including my win
with Carlos Sainz in 2004. Each of the three legs is different, with twisty stages on Day 1,
then much faster, quite treacherous ground on Saturday before the weekend concludes with
two classic tests on Sunday: 'Giulio Cesare' and 'El Cóndor'. There are also plenty of watercrossings
through which you really have to be careful if you don't want to damage your car."

Citroën has gone unbeaten in Argentina since 2004, and Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo are
both intent on continuing this winning streak. "I really do enjoy this event. It's one of the
best of the year," admits the defending World Champion. "There's always a very special
atmosphere and it's nice to see such enthusiastic spectators. Daniel and I have won the last
three events and another victory would put us back on top of the championship standings.
However, that's not an absolute priority; above all, I hope we are competitive. The major
unknown factor concerns how our tyres will perform. We are forced to run hard compound
Pirellis which isn't ideal for Argentina's sandy, low-wearing stages. We will need to find a setup
that gives us as much grip as possible."

"Another rally in a Spanish-speaking country! That's nice," adds Dani Sordo. "I hope we will
fare better than we did in Mexico, although I must say that Rally Mexico showed me that my
gravel driving technique is getting better and better. I will need to have the same feeling in
Villa Carlos Paz if I want to score a top result. I like this event; I like its fast, varied stages,
and the spectacular positions we find ourselves in when we land after certain jumps... We
went well with the C4 here last year and we will do our best to do the same this time round
to try to secure a good finish in terms of the Manufacturers' championship."