Despite having big problems during the two first legs of Rally Norway, Daniel Carlsson was able to get to the finish on Sunday in seventh place. This means that he scores three important points for OMV Kronos Citroën in the manufacturer’s championship. Daniel, his co-driver Denis Giraudet and the team are all very satisfied with the performances of the weekend.
It started off as a nightmare with Daniel not finding the right rhythm on Friday and continued by forcing him to go out early on Saturday – cleaning the road from decimetres of snow for the later running drivers. Then on Sunday, under more human conditions, Daniel attacked and secured seventh place in the first ever Norwegian WRC round. The seventh place was a big relief for the Swedish driver, who has struggled throughout the weekend:- It has been a huge test of endurance to me, but I have proved that patience is a winning strategy. It was almost impossible to keep on the road on Saturday, but I kept cool while others were making mistakes. Stage victories look good – but they give no points to the team, that’s a matter of fact, says Daniel.
With the 44.27 km’s Elverum stage ending the rally, it was not a big surprise that the rally got dramatic all the way to the finish line. Daniel held 9th before the stage, 7.4 seconds after Xavier Pons. Daniel had taken a lot of time from the Spaniard earlier in the day, and immediately increased the pressure out on the stage:- We pushed hard and after three splits we had taken five seconds from Pons. Probably he got quite stressed and ran off the road. It was sad for the fight to end like that, but rallying is rallying and you need to stay on the road. Worse is that Manfred went off in the same stage and lost a lot of time. It would really have been a great success to the team with Manfred in sixth place!
Despite Manfred being unlucky on the last stage, the OMV Kronos Citroën team is happy with the weekend in Norway. Team manager Marc van Dalen gives his view of Daniel’s performance, immediately after passing the finish line in Norway:- I’m very happy and proud of Daniel. The conditions were terrible but he still managed to perform very good and stayed on the road while others were doing mistakes. Daniel knows that the most important thing is reaching the finish without problems – and he did. That’s what counts! Also, going into the last stage, Daniel had big pressure on himself to pass Pons. He attacked immediately, Pons made a mistake, and I’m really impressed by Daniel’s ability to keep calm in such a situation. He has performed really good – both in Sweden and Norway!
After Daniel’s hard efforts during the last weeks, a few days of rest now awaits him. After that, he resumes the work for the future and moves his focus to Rally of Portugal (30th of March-1st of April), the next WRC round where he will compete. Portugal will be the first rally on gravel with the new team and car, which of course makes it even more interesting.