LEG 4: Zagora-Agadir (Thursday, October 8)
The trend of recent days has been reversed for the two Team Peugeot Total crews competing in Morocco this week. Sébastien Loeb bounced back from his troubled time on Wednesday to post today’s third-fastest effort, but Carlos Sainz’s run came to an end on the Rallye du Maroc’s fourth stage.
Carlos Sainz led up to Stage 4’s first Passage Control and was providing another glimpse of the new PEUGEOT 2008 DKR’s potential on today’s 293km test along the Atlantic coast from Zagora to Agadir when the N°311 car’s engine stopped without warning. After trying in vain to fire up the powerplant again, the Spaniard and his co-driver Lucas Cruz decided to wait for their service team to show. It was then judged that they had insufficient time to reach the overnight camp in Agadir, so the decision was taken to head instead for Erfoud where a busy eight-day test is scheduled for next week.
Meanwhile, in contrast to their fortunes on Wednesday, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena made it to the finish of today’s stage in the N°312 car. Despite their unfavourable start order and a slow puncture towards the end, which was attenuated by the on-board remote tyre-inflation system, the nine-time world rally champions completed the test with the third-fastest time, 1mn57s short of the day’s winner. It was the ideal way to thank their mechanics who had spent another sleepless night re-fettling their PEUGEOT 2008 DKR15+ after the roll it suffered the previous day.
Sébastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 2008 DKR15+ #312 (P3, +1mn57s)
“After our misadventures on Wednesday, we re-started in 18th position on the road which meant we had to overtake a high number of slower cars. As a result, we spent much of the early part of the stage in hanging dust before we finally got to have a clear track ahead of us. We were going well when we picked up a slow puncture which we ran with for more than 100km. Thankfully, the remote tyre-inflation system managed to compensate and we were able to reach the finish without having to stop to change the wheel. I’m delighted to have posted the third-best time.”
For further information, listen to Sébastien Loeb’s podcast at http://peugeot-media.com/audio.php?nav=1139&langue=en
Final positions - Stage 4:
1.Al Rahji (SAU)/ Timo Gottschlack (GER), Toyota Hi-Lux, en 2 h 33’49
2.Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Mini All 4 Racing, +0’45
3.Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MC), PEUGEOT 2008 DKR15+, +1’57
4.Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Toyota Hi-Lux, +3’22
5.Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk Von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, +3’42
Overall standings after Stage 4:
1.Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Mini All 4 Racing, en 11 h 03’12
2.Al Rahji (SAU)/ Timo Gottschlack (GER), Toyota Hi-Lux, + 16’10
3.Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS), Toyota Hi-Lux, + 19’24
4.Giniel De Villiers (ZAF) / Dirk Von Zitzewitz (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, + 24’50
5.Leeroy Norman Poulter (ZAF)/Robert Duncan Howie (ZAF), Toyota Hi-Lux, + 33’30