Sebastien Loeb has shown that even with a sour arm and a new car, he can still stand on the top step of the podium.
The car was quick from the outset, with Loeb and teammate Daniel Sordo both putting in fast times throughout the event. The new C4 from Citroen marks their return to full time works rally team, and showed that the year off last year while developing the C4 was a good idea.
Loeb said before the rally start that his arm — which he broke towards the end of last season — is still not 100%. "For sure I haven't recovered completely, my shoulder is not so strong at the moment," Loeb said. "But driving the car is not so bad, the feeling is good. There was no pain at shakedown and in each test last year there was less pain."
The rally proved good for both the Ford and Subaru teams as well, the Ford team showed that there is still pace to be found in the Focus WRC with Marcus Gronholm finishing 3rd. Subaru showed that the switch from Michelin to BF Goodrich rubber has not harmed them with the Australian Chris Atkinson finishing behind Gronholm in fourth.
The last two points places were taken by Toni Gardemeister in the Mitsubishi and Jan Kopecky in the Skoda Fabia WRC.
The rally was a close run thing, with Loeb finishing 38.2 seconds ahead of his teammate and 8th place was only 4:39.4 behind.
With the cars and drivers looking to be closer paced this year, Loeb and Citroen will have more of a challenge on there hands, especially when Subaru get fully up to speed with the new rubber.