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FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM- KRIS MEEKE ONE OF THE FOUR ACES

WRC A FULL 2015

KRIS MEEKE ONE OF THE FOUR ACES.

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23 May 2015

Just over twenty seconds covered the top four drivers in the overall standings at Rally de Portugal after 300 kilometres of timed stages.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claimed two stage wins today to lie third overall ahead of tomorrow’s final leg.
Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson ended the day in eighth place, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson rejoined this morning under Rally 2 rules.

VODAFONE RALLY DE PORTUGAL (21-24/05/2015) – DAY 2

Just over twenty seconds covered the top four drivers in the overall standings at Rally de Portugal after 300 kilometres of timed stages.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claimed two stage wins today to lie third overall ahead of tomorrow’s final leg.
Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson ended the day in eighth place, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson rejoined this morning under Rally 2 rules.

After the opening day route took the drivers and teams along the Spanish border, Rally de Portugal headed east for the long second leg. Although the roads were less rough, they remained just as slippery. And managing the allocation of just 16 soft tyres therefore became a decisive factor in determining the standings.

Second overall as the cars left parc ferme this morning, Kris Meeke was running in fifth position on the road. The Northern Irishman relinquished second place to Andreas Mikkelsen on the opening stage, before grabbing it back with two stage wins on Marão (SS9) and Fridão (SS10). At the midday service, his DS 3 WRC was just 6.1 seconds behind the leader, Jari-Matti Latvala.

In the afternoon, the four-way battle continued between Latvala, Meeke, Ogier and Mikkelsen. By opting to fit a combination of three hard tyres and one soft tyre, in order to prepare for the end of the rally, Kris lost a little time. However, after almost three hours of racing, there were just 21.1 seconds between the leading quartet, with the DS 3 WRC in third position.

Still looking for the right feeling, Mads Østberg became embroiled in a three-way battle for sixth place. Struggling for speed in the second loop, he headed back to the service park in eight place, less than ten seconds behind Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon.

Following Elfyn Evans’ retirement on the opening stage of the day, Khalid Al Qassimi was handed the unenviable job of running first on the road. The Abu Dhabi had to contend with an especially slippery surface as he swept the loose gravel off the racing line. He nonetheless managed to move up a few places, which means he should have a better starting position tomorrow.

In the WRC2, Stéphane Lefebvre remained just outside the top three. Once again very consistent, he managed to end the day in fourth place in his DS 3 R5. In the FIA Junior WRC, the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert continued to lead the standings in his DS 3 R3-MAX.

There are 55 kilometres of timed stages left to complete tomorrow before we find a winner. After an initial pass on Fafe (11.15km) and a single run on Vieira do Minho (32.35km), the rally is scheduled to finish at 1.15pm following a second run on the legendary Fafe stage. The famous test will also serve as the Power Stage and be broadcast live at 11.08am local time.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “We’re very pleased with Kris’ performance today. Obviously, the aim is to secure a place on the podium for the DS 3 WRC, not forgetting that the Manufacturers’ championship remains the priority. Mads is fighting for sixth place, despite the technical difficulties he had to contend with today. He has a good opportunity to make up one or two places.”

Mads Østberg: “It wasn’t my best day, but we’ll have a better starting position tomorrow. If I feel confident, I’ll push to try and move up the overall standings.”

Kris Meeke: “I drove at my own pace without worrying about the times of the other guys. My goal is still to make it to the finish and score good points. We’ve had two good days since the start, so we’re fairly pleased for the moment. We have to keep it up and that way, we’ll get another good result here.”

Khalid Al Qassimi: “It was a fairly strange day. As we were first on the road, the conditions were extremely difficult. We had to carve out the racing line, sweeping the loose gravel off the surface. The stages were so slippery that I decided not to take too many risks without feeling fully confident. We’ll see what state the roads are in tomorrow.”

Stéphane Lefebvre: “We worked hard to improve our pace notes, especially on the first stage of the loop. I don’t think we had the best set-up today, although we did manage to set good times on Baião. The roads are very slippery with a lot of sand. It’s been a great learning experience that we’ll be trying to convert into points tomorrow.”

HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED

SS8 – Baião 1 (18.57km) – Stage win for Andreas Mikkelsen, who moved into second overall ahead of Kris Meeke, who went fourth fastest. Mads Østberg set the seventh fastest time. After rejoining under Rally 2 rules, Khalid Al Qassimi stopped on the stage to make sure Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt were okay after the British crew went off just ahead.

SS9 – Marão 1 (26.30km) – Kris Meeke won the stage to reclaim second place and move to within 11.2 seconds of the overall leader, Jari-Matti Latvala. Mads Østberg was fifth fastest, moving closer to Dani Sordo in the overall standings. First on the road, Khalid Al Qassimi had the unenviable task of carving out the racing line.

SS10 – Fridão 1 (37.67km) – Another fastest time for Kris Meeke on the longest stage of the rally. The Northern Irishman finished ahead of Ogier and Latvala. Mads Østberg moved to within a second of Dani Sordo as the crews reached the midday service.

SS11 – Baião 2 (18.57km) – Sébastien Ogier kicked off the afternoon loop with a stage win. He moved up into third overall, 7.4 seconds behind Kris Meeke, who was fourth fastest on this test. Mads Østberg continued his battle with Dani Sordo for sixth place.

SS12 – Marão 2 (26.30km) – Sébastien Ogier collected another stage win, cutting the gap to Latvala and Meeke. Mikkelsen lost a little bit more ground to the leading three. Hayden Paddon muscled in on the battle for sixth with Mads Østberg and Dani Sordo.

SS13 – Fridão 2 (37.67km) – The day concluded with another stage win for Sébastien Ogier, who grabbed second overall from Kris Meeke. The Briton therefore ended the day in third position, just ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen, whilst Jari-Matti Latvala held onto the overall lead. Although he lost a little time to Dani Sordo, Mads Østberg made up some ground on Hayden Paddon on this, the final stage of the day.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2

1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:56:19.9
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +9.5
3. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +20.0
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +21.1
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:11.1
6. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:55.4
7. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:01.0
8. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +2:05.0
9. Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:06.9
10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:49.7…

FASTEST TIMES

Sébastien Ogier, 4 – Kris Meeke, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, 2 – Mads Østberg and Dani Sordo, 1 (1 SS cancelled).

LEADERS

SS1 and SS3: Andreas Mikkelsen

SS2: Dani Sordo

SS4 to SS13: Jari-Matti Latvala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marie-Pierre Rossi
Media Citroën & DS Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team

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