FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM – MADS ØSTBERG MOVES INTO THE FAST LANE!
WRC A FULL 2015
MADS ØSTBERG MOVES INTO THE FAST LANE!.
Picking up the gauntlet after Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle they went off on Jukojärvi, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson lie third overall at Rally Finland ahead of Sunday’s short final leg.
The Nordic duo is aiming for their third podium finish this season to consolidate their third position in the World Rally Championship.
RALLY FINLAND (30/7-2/8/2015) – DAY 2
1 August 2015
Continuing to drive at breathtakingly high speeds, the crews tackled some of Rally Finland’s most famous stages today. Mökkipera, with its highly technical sections, Jukojärvi, with its rock-laden verges, Surkee, with its flat-out section and Horkka, with its famous jumps, all featured on today’s programme.
Third at the end of the opening leg, Kris Meeke began the morning’s loop by losing just two seconds to the leader on the first fifty kilometres of stages. The Northern Irishman was stopped in his tracks, however, on the second run on Jukojärvi (SS16). He ran wide on a right-hand bend and clipped a tree, damaging the front axle of his DS 3 WRC. He should be able to rejoin tomorrow under Rally2 regulations.
Fourth this morning, Mads Østberg matched the pace of his team-mate. He inherited third overall on SS16 and had consolidated his position by the end of the day by remaining faster than his closest rivals.
Stéphane Lefebvre continued to learn about the special demands of rally driving on the formidable Finnish roads. In his DS 3 RRC, he managed to tighten his grip on third place as he aimed to secure a second podium in the WRC2 category.
In the FIA Junior WRC, the Finn Henri Haapamäki dominated the leg with a series of stage wins. He quickly retook second position in the standings and closed the gap to the leader, Quentin Gilbert, ahead of tomorrow’s final sprint. The Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby holds third place.
The short final leg features just two runs on the very fast Myhinpää stage. The 14.13 kilometre test will be completed twice, with the Power Stage due to start at 1.08pm, local time.
Mads Østberg: “It was an excellent day. We showed we had the right pace to keep putting the leaders under pressure. We also had to contend with the rain and I had quite a few moments on the sections where the grip levels were inconsistent. My aim is to continue to be quick tomorrow and try to score a few bonus points on the Power Stage.”
Kris Meeke: “With the rain, we had changed the set-up before setting off on Jukojärvi 2. After a few kilometres, there was a right-hand bend which tightened over a jump. I stayed in the middle, like I did on the first run, but when I turned into the corner I was already in the mud. I tried everything to keep control of the car despite the aquaplaning. The car hit a tree on the outside of the corner, breaking the front left-hand suspension. It’s a real shame, because we were on course for a good result. We had an excellent feeling in the car. I wasn’t under pressure and I felt good, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “When I felt that the roads were too slippery, I was even more focussed and took absolutely no risks. When the surface was more suited to pushing, with more grip, I enjoyed myself on the stages. Throughout the day, I tried to find the right balance depending on the conditions.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS11 – Mökkiperä 1 (13.84km) – Quicker into his stride than his rivals, Jari-Matti Latvala grabbed the stage win ahead of Kris Meeke. Mads Østberg ended the stage 3.5 seconds off the pace.
SS12 – Jukojärvi 1 (21.14km) – Sébastien Ogier regained the time lost on the opening stage with fastest time. Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg finished in the top four to consolidate their positions.
SS13 – Surkee 1 (14.95km) – Further top-four finishes for both Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers, whilst Sébastien Ogier closed to within two seconds of Latvala in the overall standings.
SS14 – Horkka 1 (15.59km) – Jari-Matti Latvala responded immediately, finishing one second ahead of Sébastien Ogier. Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg consolidated their third and fourth positions before heading for the midday service. Khalid Al Qassimi continued his error-free race in 19th place.
SS15 – Mökkiperä 2 (13.84km) – Dani Sordo went off and lost just over five minutes. Juho Hänninen therefore inherited sixth place. At the front, the head-to-head battle between Latvala and Ogier continued with a stage win for the latter, by just 0.1 seconds.
SS16 – Jukojärvi 2 (21.14km) – Jari-Matti Latvala topped the timesheets to almost double his lead in just one stage. Kris Meeke went off at the start of the stage and broke his front left-hand wheel, spelling the end of his day. Mads Østberg inherited third position.
SS17 – Surkee 2 (14.95km) – Jari-Matti Latvala continued to increase his lead. For the first time since the start of the rally, he held a ten-second lead over Sébastien Ogier. Mads Østberg, third overall, increased the gap to fourth position to almost two minutes.
SS18 – Horkka 2 (15.59km) – On the final stage of the day, Jari-Matti Latvala claimed another stage win, ending the day in first position with a 13.2-second lead over Sébastien Ogier. Mads Østberg held onto third place and Khalid Al Qassimi ended the day in seventeenth.
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:20.20.6
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +13.2
3. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:28.0
4. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:26.5
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:19.1
6. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:21.0
7. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:41.2
8. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5) +6:32.6
9. Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:55.9
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:56.8
Jari-Matti Latvala, 9 – Sébastien Ogier, 8 – Kris Meeke, 1
SS1: Sébastien Ogier
SS2: Kris Meeke
SS3 to SS7: Sébastien Ogier
SS8 to SS18: Jari-Matti Latvala
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