Citroen: Loeb can still score points
|By David Evans||Friday, June 26th 2009, 16:21 GMT|
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel says Sebastien Loeb can still clinch driver points in the Rally Poland despite starting day two more than 17 minutes off eighth position.
Quesnel also believes that the stage four incident which ruled Loeb out of the first leg was not the fault of the five-time world champion. Loeb had to retire after smashing his suspension on a tree stump.
"I think whoever had been first in this place would have had the same thing happen," said Quesnel. "It was not a mistake from Sebastien, he was unlucky.
"He will start again tomorrow and then let's see - he can make points in the manufacturers' championship and why not in the drivers?"
Quesnel has also accepted that Citroen number two driver Dani Sordo, who currently holds third, will not push the two Ford drivers ahead.
"It's important for Dani to finish," he said. "We need the points, that's what we talked about with Dani this afternoon. He's not going to be fighting with them [Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala]."
But Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson admitted he would keep a wary eye on the Spanish Citroen driver, despite Quesnel's assurances.
"We've told Jari to monitor Dani's times from the start," said Wilson, "and that's not going to change. We want the one-two result, but there's still a long way to go."
The Fords start tomorrow 28s ahead of Sordo, but Latvala says he wants a gap of one minute before he can feel comfortable.
"It doesn't matter if it's one or two seconds at the end of the event," said Latvala, "but all of the time there is the chance you can have a puncture or a small problem and then you can lose that gap. One minute would be comfortable. At the moment, I'm driving at 95 per cent, there is more to come if we need to respond to Dani."