With the new World Rally Car regulations coming in for next year, the Citroën C4 WRC will end its career on the Rally Great Britain, the final round of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship. Dani Sordo/Diego Vallejo and Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj Lindström will represent the Citroën Junior Team, with the aim of sealing third place in the manufacturers’ championship.
Rally Great Britain is the 13th round of the year and one of the iconic events of the FIA World Rally Championship. It traditionally rounds off the season, although this year both the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ titles have already been decided. The Citroën Junior Team is still aiming to secure third place in the manufacturers’ title race (which has already been won by the Citroën Total World Rally Team*), while both Dani Sordo and Kimi Räikkönen have the chance to improve their final position in the drivers’ rankings.
Dani Sordo heads into the final rally of the year lying fifth in the championship, having taken five podiums from the last seven events, and the Spaniard is hoping for a strong finish to the season. “This is a particularly difficult rally, but I’ve managed to set some good times there in the past,” he pointed out. “This year, I want to be right in the fight for victory.”
Sordo has ended up with two podiums from his last two outings in the Rally of Great Britain. “The weather conditions will play a big part,” he added. “If the roads stay dry, this is going to be an extremely fast rally. If it rains though, the stages will rapidly turn into mud and it will become the most slippery event of the year. We need to get off to a good start, as I’m sure that the pace will be quick from the very beginning. Everyone wants to win the last rally of the year.”
Having scored 21 points, Kimi Räikkönen is currently 10th in the World Championship following the 10 rallies that he has taken part in. The Finn will be back on gravel in Wales – a surface on which he scored points in Jordan, Turkey and Portugal.
“We knew that our first learning year would be a bit like this,” pointed out Kimi. “Like any driver starting off in a completely new discipline that is as specialised as rallying, I’ve had my ups and downs. I imagine that Wales will be no different. We’re going to work hard during the recce. We need to make sure that we set off at a decent pace and then gradually reduce the gap to the frontrunners as the rally goes on.”
“Our rivals will have more experience than us on these roads, although Kaj knows some of the stages. If that means that we can keep making the pace notes in the same way as before, it’s definitely a small bonus.”
The rally route has changed slightly compared to last year. A new super-special stage (Cardiff Bay) will kick off the action on Thursday night. The first day is a repeat of 2009, but the second day returns to some older stages such as Radnor Forest, which was last used in 1999. On the final day, the Resolfen and Margam Park stages are also slightly modified.
* Subject to the publication of the official results by the FIA.
Three questions to…Dani Sordo
Rally Great Britain is far from being a typical rally, with unique surfaces and conditions. Is it an event you enjoy?
“I really like it. The roads are often quite fast and that suits my driving style well. The stages are difficult, but they’re also great fun for both driver and co-driver. But at this time of year the weather conditions can change the character of the rally completely. I remember the start of one stage in Britain a few years ago that was in full fog, while it was raining and night was falling. It felt like driving through a tunnel. I actually switched off the light pod so that it felt less like driving into a wall of white in front of the bonnet. I could see nothing at all, so it was really important to have total confidence in the pace notes. It’s a really vivid memory!”
What will be your objective to finish the season?
“I’m going to be flat-out from the beginning. I want to fight for the win. We’re going to prepare for the rally well and work hard during the recce. The Rally Great Britain is the final event of the year and everyone will be very keen to do well. You need to be up there and I want to get a result. I know that I’m capable of doing it and that the Citroën Junior Team can help me.”
This will be the last rally for the Citroën C4 WRC… what will you remember about your four years with this car?
“It’s a car that has played a huge part in the history of rallying. The Citroën Xsara WRC reached a very high level, but the C4 WRC has raised the bar further still. The Citroën team has done an extraordinary job and the results are the proof. The C4 WRC has won on every surface; I don’t think there’s a single rally where it hasn’t triumphed at some point. I’ll always have really good memories of the C4; it’s a car that is competitive everywhere. The whole chassis, the roadholding, and the engine…everything has reached an exceptional level with constant month-by-month progress and development. It’s been a pleasure to drive it for the last four seasons and it’s certainly going to be a pleasure to drive it again in Great Britain.”