31
March
2008
|
10:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Pirelli Triumphs with the Citroën C4 Wrc of Loeb-Elena

By taking his third win out of the four rallies that have been run so far this year, Sebastien Loeb claims the lead of the FIA World Rally Championship drivers' classification. Chris Atkinson finished an excellent second place in his Subaru Impreza WRC, ahead of the other factory Citroen C4 WRC of Sordo. Gigi Galli finishes seventh with the Stobart Ford Focus WRC after encountering technical problems yesterday.

Villa Carlos Paz, 30 March 2008 - The Pirelli-equipped Citroën C4 WRC of Loeb and Elena has dominated the fourth round of the World Rally Championship, despite some appalling conditions that included driving rain and mud. The reigning World Champion claimed his fourth consecutive win in Argentina, and with the factory Ford Focus WRC of Mikko Hirvonen finishing fifth Loeb now takes the lead of the drivers' World Championship, five points ahead of the Finn. The final day saw the retirement of Petter Solberg and Phil Mills, who were stopped by an electrical problem on their Subaru Impreza WRC whilst they were second. Their position was then inherited by Atkinson and Prévot in the other factory Subaru-Pirelli.

"In the closing stages, we were obviously just controlling the rally and managing our advantage," said Sebastien Loeb. "The Pirelli Scorpion tyres did their job well, as they did in Mexico a month ago where there were hardly any punctures. The problems we faced here were to do with the regulations rather than the tyres."

Just behind the Frenchman was Chris Atkinson, who was once more extremely competitive in his factory Subaru Impreza WRC. "I feel sorry for Petter, who was just far too unlucky and would have amply deserved second place,"  he said. "Although it was another very tough day, the Scorpion tyres delivered more than could be expected through all the mud, which made life really difficult. Every time we went through a watersplash or a river crossing it was a constant risk as you never knew what was underneath. You stood a chance of ruining everything by hitting a rock just under the surface. "

Just behind Atkinson was Dani Sordo, who also set a good pace in the second factory Citroën, ahead of Conrad Rautenbach in a privately-run C4 WRC. Galli, driving a Stobart Ford Focus WRC, finished seventh after re-starting the event today under the super rally system. His co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini commented: "We're still pleased with the result, which at least means that we do not go home empty-handed. Nonetheless, our final placing is not representative of the potential of our Ford Focus and its Pirelli tyres here."

Mario Isola, Pirelli's rally manager, concluded: "Our hard compound's Scorpion tyres have been designed and tested for conditions that are quite different to those we saw on this year's Rally Argentina. Of course we are more than ready to analyse and discuss the current tyre rules both with the FIA and the manufacturers in order to evaluate any potential rules' refinements that need to be made. "