It took a long time coming but Dani Sordo finally broke his WRC victory duck in Germany.
Many drivers say the first win was their most memorable and judging by the smiles – and tears – on Dani Sordo’s face as he reached the finish line in Germany last weekend he’s surely no exception.
The Spaniard burst onto the WRC in 2006 – touted as the next big thing after Sebastien Loeb. Just like Loeb had done with Citroen some years before, the Spaniard also lifted the Junior title with the French manufacturer (in 2005) before being promoted to one of its factory-supported cars in the premier WRC category.
For one reason or another, though, it never quite happened for the man from Torrelavega. Finally, though, on his preferred surface of asphalt last Sunday he silenced his critics as he came out on top of a ferocious fight to the end with M-Sport Ford’s Thierry Neuville.
So how does it feel to finally get that first win?
“I am felling really well. We didn’t start well, but things improved after we changed the set-up. In bad conditions we had to fight a little bit more and in the end we finally won.”
Your battle with Thierry went right down to the wire – he was just a few seconds behind you going into the final stage. How nervous were you?
“It was quite OK. In the first stage (of the two final stages), we were a little bit faster than Thierry. Then we had to wait for one hour doing nothing before the next stage. That was a little bit long, to be honest. In the last stage, it was interesting, but it was nice.”
You have spent the majority of your career with Citroen; does it feel good to take the first win with them?
“It was an emotional one, of course. A lot of people were there, close friends and family. Many people were very happy for my win. I knew that the team and Mikko (Hirvonen, his team-mate) were supporting me as well. You feel that people are supporting you; that is always nice.”
What was the feeling when you crossed the finish line and you realised you had done enough to win?
“It was a very good feeling. In the middle of the stage, I wasn’t nervous, but Thierry was pushing like hell, so it was really close. After we crossed the line, we saw the message in the car that Thierry was driving slowly. Then it was already looking good, but we weren’t sure. We had to wait for the confirmation and it was a relief when it finally came.”
Was there any pressure on your shoulders to do well here?
“No, it wasn’t a lot of pressure. On Tarmac, we were confident we could do well. I was more scared about the set-up, because we didn’t do a lot of testing here, but we made some good changes and after that the car was really good.”
How important is this win for your future?
“I don’t now, but I am really happy with the victory. If it helps me for next year then it is good but, if not, so be it. Having this victory is just very nice.”