FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM- THE CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM CONSOLIDATES ITS SECOND POSITION
WRC A FULL 2015
THE CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM CONSOLIDATES ITS SECOND POSITION.
Among the frontrunners from start to finish, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ended fourth overall in their DS 3 WRC at Rally de Portugal.
Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson scored precious points as they finished seventh. They remain in the top three of the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ World Championship standings, whilst the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team strengthened its hold on second place.
The next round will be held on 11-14 June at Rally Italia Sardegna.
VODAFONE RALLY DE PORTUGAL (21-24/05/2015) – FINISH
25 May 2015
Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg began the final day of Rally de Portugal looking to collect a large haul of points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Although he fought to stay in the top-three, in the end Kris Meeke had to settle for fourth position, securing important points for the championships. He therefore followed up his win in Argentina by racking up another bumper collection of points, enabling him to move into fourth place in the Drivers’ standings, after an intense scrap with Jari-Matti Latvala, Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen that lasted two days.
Eighth this morning, Mads Østberg produced some fine performances in the closing stages of the rally. He moved ahead of Hayden Paddon after the first pass on Fafe, before taking a hefty 11.2 seconds out of Dani Sordo’s lead on the 32 kilometre-long Vieira do Minho. A final push saw the Norwegian beat the Spaniard again on the Power Stage, but he ended up missing out on sixth place by less than five seconds.
Penalised after retiring on the opening day, Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson completed their second WRC rally of the season in 22nd place.
Competing in a DS 3 R5, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot scored twelve points after finishing fourth in the WRC2 category. With three events completed in this championship, they consolidated their fourth position in the standings and moved closers to the leaders.
In the FIA Junior WRC, French ace Quentin Gilbert secured a second successive win. After claiming the opening rally of the season in Monaco, he notched up another victory, this time finishing ahead of fellow Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet and the Finn Henri Haapamaki.
The World Championship now heads for Alghero where the next round, Rally Italia Sardegna, will be held on 11-14 June.
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “We can be pleased with the result at the end of this year’s Rally de Portugal. With both our cars finishing in good positions, we have met the targets we set ourselves before the start. There are a number of reasons to be satisfied: the DS 3 WRCs were competitive and we were fighting at the front for more than two days. We have also taken points off our rivals in the Manufacturers’ standings and strengthened our hold on second position. All of which is very encouraging for the rest of the season.”
Mads Østberg: “We showed very strong pace at the end of the rally. We had to push hard to make up the time we had lost to Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo. I think we performed very well. The aim was to make up nine seconds on the final day and we did more than that. It’s encouraging before we tackle Rally Italia Sardegna, which is one of my favourite events.”
Kris Meeke: “We were competitive throughout the weekend. Usually, this kind of performance would lead to place on the podium. We were fighting at the front right from the word go. At the halfway stage, we were only six seconds behind the leader. Although the result wasn’t quite what we had hoped for, overall it was a very positive weekend and we’re now fourth in the championship. So I’m very happy about that.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “This new-look Rally de Portugal was very interesting. The stages were really difficult and slippery. After rejoining under Rally 2 rules, we were first on the road and had to carve out the racing line, so we had to take it fairly easily. Congratulations to my team-mates who did well here and have scored important points for the Manufacturers’ championship.”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “Our aim was to avoid making any mistakes, so I’m pleased to get to the end of such a difficult rally without so much as a puncture! This Rally de Portugal was still a very significant learning experience for me. I know I still need to improve the accuracy of my pace notes for this kind of event. It has been a really great experience, which will be important for the rest of my career.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS14 – Fafe 1 (11.15km) – The two contenders for the overall win, Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier began their head-to-head battle on Fafe. Ogier set the fastest time to make up 1.7 seconds on the overall leader. Andreas Mikkelsen moved ahead of Kris Meeke to grab third overall. Mads Østberg also got past Hayden Paddon to claim seventh position. Khalid Al Qassimi set the sixteenth fastest time in front of the massive crowds gathered on the stage.
SS15 – Vieira do Minho 1 (32.35km) – Jari-Matti Latvala reacted by winning the longest stage of the day. He stretched his lead over Ogier to 10.4 seconds. Mads Østberg finished fourth on the stage to make up 11.2 seconds on Dani Sordo before the final stage.
SS16 – Fafe 2 (11.15km) – On the Power Stage, Sébastien Ogier beat Jari-Matti Latvala, Andreas Mikkelsen, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg. Latvala went on to win the rally, less than ten seconds ahead of Ogier. Mikkelsen took the final podium spot, ahead of Kris Meeke and Ott Tanak. Dani Sordo held off Mads Østberg to finish in sixth place. 69th after the first leg, Khalid Al Qassimi had climbed up to 22nd by the end of the rally.
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:30:35.3
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +8.2
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +28.6
4. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +48.7
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:56.8
6. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:27.9
7. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +2:32.2
8. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:54.3
9. Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:39.1
10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +7:31.2…
Sébastien Ogier, 6 – Jari-Matti Latvala, 3 – Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen, 2 – Mads Østberg and Dani Sordo, 1 (1 SS cancelled).
SS1 and SS3: Andreas Mikkelsen
SS2: Dani Sordo
SS4 to SS16 (finish): Jari-Matti Latvala
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Sébastien Ogier 105 points
2. Andreas Mikkelsen 63 points
3. Mads Østberg 57 points
4. Kris Meeke 47 points
5. Jari-Matti Latvala 46 points
6. Elfyn Evans 41 points
7. Dani Sordo 38 points
8. Thierry Neuville 35 points
9. Martin Prokop 27 points
10. Ott Tanak 23 points…
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 146 points
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 103 points
3. Hyundai Motorsport 94 points
4. M-Sport World Rally Team 81 points
5. Jipocar Czech National Team 34 points…
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