WRC A FULL 2014
KRIS MEEKE GOES AFTER THE POINTS
29 June 2014
RALLY POLAND (26-29/02/2014) – DAY 2
Day two of Rally Poland took a heavy toll on the World Rally Championship crews. Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson were forced to retire on SS14. Despite being slowed by a puncture, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle are still in the hunt for points ahead of tomorrow’s short final leg.
– The two cars entered by the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in Poland weren’t the only ones in action today: Sébastien Loeb took part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed, also in a DS3 WRC!
Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke made the perfect start this morning. After the first three stages, the Norwegian had cut Andreas Mikkelsen’s lead by nine seconds, whilst also extending the gap to Jari-Matti Latvala by ten seconds. The British driver was also setting a strong pace, extending his advantage over his nearest challenger, Juho Hänninen, by 13.2 seconds.
However, Goldap, the longest stage of the day at 35.17 kilometres, was about to turn proceedings on their head. Kris Meeke picked up a puncture. He managed to make it to the end of the stage, losing less than three minutes in the process. Down to eleventh, the Briton went back on the attack, finishing the day in eighth place overall.
Mads Østberg was one of the numerous WRC casualties. He was forced to retire after damaging a wheel when he hit a rock on a corner. The Norwegian will not rejoin the rally tomorrow.
In the WRC2, Sébastien Chardonnet and Thibault De la Haye continued along their learning curve in the Citroën DS3 R5. Fourth in their category after SS11, they had to stop when their car suffered a water leak. The WRC3 Champions will rejoin the race tomorrow.
Stéphane Lefebvre controlled from the front in the FIA Junior WRC throughout the day. He ended the day with a lead of almost two minutes over Alastair Fisher and Quentin Giordano. Martin Koci (puncture), Molly Taylor (transmission), Panikos Polykarpou and Federico Della Cassa (offs) were among those disappointed with their day.
There are four stages left to run tomorrow before the rally is due to finish in Mikolajki. The Power Stage (Baranowo), which will be broadcast live on television, is scheduled to start at 12.05pm. The podium will be held from 2.00pm.
Mads Østberg: “I had a good feeling in the car. The set-up of the Citroën DS3 WRC suited me and I had good pace. These improvements could be seen in the overall standings. But on a left-hand corner, I hit a rock on the apex. Evans and Latvala also got caught out at the same point. On the next corner, I had no steering and no brakes. We went off and rolled the car. It’s really disappointing as we were really in contention!”
Kris Meeke: “I really enjoyed today’s stages. The roads were incredibly fast. But it wasn’t a perfect day because we lost time with the puncture. But I think I have made a real step forward in terms of driving. I feel that I’m more consistent and that I have the ability to go a little bit faster still. That is also down to the work done with the team since testing. We have to keep going now to the end and score some points for the World Championship.”
Sébastien Chardonnet: “The aim today was to try and get third place in the WRC2 standings. On the second stage, we hit a very slippery paved section. When I braked, the car began to skid towards an embankment and some bushes. A few metres further on, the temperature and water pressure warning lights came on. We tried, unsuccessfully, to repair the problem. We felt it was better not to continue to save the engine and be able to rejoin tomorrow. This is my first retirement after an off in 45 rallies. But it’s also part and parcel of the learning process.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Kris was matching the pace of the leaders before he got his puncture. Afterwards, the stakes weren’t quite the same. He used the stages to rack up more miles on a road surface that is fairly similar to Finland. It’s important to prepare well for the second half of the season. He has a chance to climb a few places tomorrow to pick up some Manufacturers’ Championship points. By being among the frontrunners from the start of the rally, Mads showed that he was at one with the DS3 WRC on the quickest stages. Sébastien Chardonnet’s off is part and parcel of the learning curve he is on. He upped the pace because he had a chance of a good result. It’s a shame, but it’s also a phase he needs to go through in order to acquire experience.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS11 – Chmielewo 1 (6.75km) – Andreas Mikkelsen claimed the day’s first stage win, cutting Sébastien Ogier’s lead to just 0.5 seconds. Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke moved further ahead of their nearest challengers.
SS12 – Stare Juchy 1 (14.41km) – Another stage win for Mads Østberg, still in contact with the top two. Kris Meeke set the third fastest time.
SS13 – Babki 1 (15.76km) – With another stage win, Sébastien Ogier extended his overall lead in the rally. Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke consolidated their positions.
SS14 – Goldap 1 (35.17 km) – Punctures for Kris Meeke and Henning Solberg. Latvala broke part of the suspension, Evans and Østberg went off. After being held up by the marshals on the stage, Sébastien Ogier was awarded a notional time, enabling him to stay in the overall lead.
SS15 – Baranowo 1 (14.90km) – With his suspension damaged, Jari-Matti Latvala lost over a minute. Kubica also lost ground due to a puncture. The best time went to Sébastien Ogier, whilst Kris Meeke found his pace again with the fourth fastest time.
SS16 – Chmielewo 2 (6.75km) – No changes in the overall standings after this short test. Sébastien Ogier remained in the lead, followed by Mikkelsen and Juho Hänninen.
SS17 – Stare Juchy 2 (14.41km) – Thierry Neuville won the stage, ahead of Ogier, Latvala and Meeke. The Citroën driver therefore moved back up to ninth position. Robert Kubica went off, forcing him to retire.
SS18 – Babki 2 (15.76km) – Jari-Matti Latvala went fastest on this 15-kilometre test as he tried to close the gap to third position. Ogier matched the pace of Mikkelsen.
SS19 – Goldap 2 (35.17km) – A second consecutive stage win for Latvala, ahead of Ogier. Hampered by problems with the brakes, Andreas Mikkelsen fell back, leaving him almost a minute behind the leader. Kris Meeke continued his fightback to trail eighth-placed Henning Solberg by 3.7 seconds.
SS20 – Baranowo 2 (14.90km) – Sébastien Ogier extended the gap to Andreas Mikkelsen to over a minute. Kris Meeke finished ahead of Henning Solberg, edging ever closer to eighth place overall, just 3.5 seconds behind the Norwegian.
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:08:47.3
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:01.8
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:20.5
4. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:31.2
5. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:45.2
6. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:45.6
7. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:10.3
8. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:29.5
9. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +4:33.0
10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:18.6…
Sébastien Ogier, 9 – Andreas Mikkelsen, 3 – Mads Østberg and Jari-Matti Latvala, 2 – Juho Hänninen and Thierry Neuville, 1 (two stages cancelled)
SS1, SS3, SS6 to SS8, SS10 to SS20: Sébastien Ogier
SS2, SS4, SS5 and SS9: Andreas Mikkelsen
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