World Touring Car Championship race one victor Sébastien Loeb says that “it would have been dangerous to continue”, after the opening race at the Slovakiaring was stopped due to heavy rain.
Loeb took the lead at the start of the race from Citroën team-mate José María ’Pechito’ López and led until the race was stopped after nine laps. The Frenchman admits that conditions were so bad towards the end of the race that stopping it was the correct decision.
“It was important to concentrate and to try to do a good start, which is what I have done, so I could gain this first place on the start,” said Loeb. “From that point it was raining a lot, so for sure I had better visibility [at the front]. I tried to push and to keep a little gap on ‘Pechito’ and I was able to do it until the safety car came in the end, because it was heavy rain. It would for sure have been dangerous to continue like this.”
Loeb added that he was pleased to have finally got ahead of López, after the Argentine driver dominated conditions in the dry.
“For sure I’m really happy to be in this position today, especially after the weekend we had,” added Loeb. “It was really difficult for me to find the set-up and the confidence in the car. Pechito was untouchable since the start of the weekend so I couldn’t expect to be here.
“I was able to finally get the second position on the grid, which was not bad because I started on the inside. It’s a good victory; some good points, much better than I did last weekend, so it’s good for the confidence. I’m happy to be back on the podium.”
When asked if the decision to stop the race was the correct one, Loeb admitted that he agreed with the officials decision.
“For me you would have had 75% of cars in the grass or in the barrier if you continue like this,” admitted Loeb. “I think it was the solution [to stop the race] – it was too dangerous to go at the speed we are going. We reach nearly 250 km/h in the straight and even at 100 km/h there was some aquaplaning in the corner so every lap it was changing. We didn’t know where, so it was very, very tricky and dangerous so for me it was a good decision.”