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Loeb says he was lucky


World champion says driving his Citroen on hard compound tyres was nigh-impossible on SS1 of Rally NZ

World champion Sebastien Loeb says he was lucky not to roll his Citroen when it went up on two wheels in Special Stage 1 of Rally New Zealand.

He had cut to the left in a corner to avoid “big stones. Had to cut to left, big stones, went almost on to side. Had to go right not to roll.

“Very lucky.”

Loeb said the car was difficult to drive on the hard compound Pirelli tyres the championship organisers have made mandatory for Rally NZ.

This gravel is undriveable with hard tyres. Star of stage okay but got worse.”

Loeb’s comments were echoed by other World Rally Championship front-runners.

“Very difficult, very slippery,” said current rally leader, Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen.

Dani Sordo said his works Citroen was moving all over the road – “really slippery. Not good to drive.”

Privateer Ford driver Francois Duval didn't enjoy SS1: “very difficult, not too optimistic.”

Works Suzuki pilot Per-Gunnar Andersson said SS1 was “the most difficult stage I have done in my whole life, I think. Slides everywhere, no grip in braking, driving was really bad.”

For privateer Citroen driver Conrad Rautenbach it had all been a bit of a worry.

“I can’t drive the car at all, really confused. Need to think about it and see what I can do, because it’s not fun.”

More from Rally NZ throughout the day.

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