WRC A FULL 2014
Mads Østberg sets his sight on podium spot
5 April 2014
Third overall ahead of tomorrow’s short final leg of Rally de Portugal, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson will be aiming to secure another podium finish with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson moved up the overall standings on day two. They lie fourteenth overall after SS13.
The first day finished very late for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Having arrived back at service after midnight with a damaged roll cage, the Citroën DS3 WRC of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle was not allowed to rejoin under Rally 2 rules.
Eleventh on the road, Mads Østberg produced a series of top-four performances on the day’s stages. Consistent throughout, he profited from Ott Tanak’s off on SS10 to grab third place in the overall standings. By opting for a tyre strategy that enables him to fit soft tyres on tomorrow’s stages, the Norwegian currently holds a podium spot and is very much looking forward to the last three tests.
Taking advantage of the work done on the set-up of his car since the start of the rally, Khalid Al Qassimi moved up the standings. Despite the fact that conditions remained difficult, the Abu Dhabi ended the day fourteenth overall.
Sunday’s short final leg will consist of three stages. Crews will set off at 7.45am from Faro to tackle 43km of timed sections. The Power Stage, broadcast live on television, is due to start at 11am local time. The rally is scheduled to finish at 12.15pm.
Mads Østberg: “It was a fairly similar day to yesterday, really. We keep making progress. This afternoon, we chose to fit hard tyres. It wasn’t the most effective option but we hope it will pay dividends in the rest of the rally. We have kept a set of soft tyres for tomorrow. The aim is to finish on the podium and score a few bonus points in the Power Stage.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “Apart from on the long stage, conditions were much better today. I tried to adapt my driving style. It worked out in some sections. We worked on the set-up again to try and improve the handling and balance of the car. The second loop went much better than the first. We’ll try to keep driving without taking any risks.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Mads set some good times again today. We asked him to maintain a bit of a safety margin, to make sure of his third position. He therefore drove with hard tyres this afternoon to keep the soft tyres for tomorrow. If he manages to do well in the Power Stage, he could end up with the same points as if he’d finished second.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS8 – Santa Clara 1 (19.09 km) – Fastest time for Sébastien Ogier who closed the gap to the leader, Mikko Hirvonen. Mads Østberg was fourth fastest, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi held onto sixteenth position.
SS9 – Santana da Serra 2 (31.90km) – Another stage win for Sébastien Ogier, meaning he reclaimed the lead in the overall standings. Mads Østberg set the third fastest time.
SS10 – Malhao 1 (22.15km) – Having rejoined today under Rally 2 rules, Jari-Matti Latvala took the stage win. Mads Østberg finished third on the stage. Ott Tanak went off, blocking the stage. Mikko Hirvonen was given a notional time (same as Ogier).
SS11 – Santa Clara 2 (19.09km) – Just like on the first pass, Sébastien Ogier set the fastest time on Santa Clara. Mads Østberg was third, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi finished fifteenth.
SS12 – Santana da Serra 2 (31.90km) – Sébastien Ogier extended his overall lead in the rally. Mads Østberg consolidated his position with the fifth best time on this stage. Khalid Al Qassimi moved up a place into fourteenth overall.
SS13 – Malhao 2 (22.15km) – The day’s final stage was won by Sébastien Ogier. Mads Østberg held firm in third and likewise, Khalid Al Qassimi remained fourteenth.
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:03:39.8
2. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +38.1
3. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:26.7
4. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:46.7
5. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:29.9
6. Andreas Mikkelsen / Mikko Markkula (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +4:44.8
7. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +7:21.4
8. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +7:21.5
9. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +7:30.6
10. Nasser Al Attiyah / Giovanni Bernacchini (Ford Fiesta RRC) +9:24.7
14. Khalid Al Qassimi / Chris Patterson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +13:07.6
Sébastien Ogier, 7 – Dani Sordo and Jari-Matti Latvala, 2 – Thierry Neuville and Mikko Hirvonen, 1.
SS1 and SS2, SS4 to SS6, SS9 to SS13: Sébastien Ogier
SS3: Dani Sordo
SS7 and SS8: Mikko Hirvonen
After leading the class since SS2, Alastair Fisher went off on the day’s final stage. Still getting to grips with the Citroën DS3 R3, Stéphane Lefebvre moved up into first place in the overall standings. Martin Koci and Christian Riedemann currently round off the top three.
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