FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM – ANOTHER PODIUM FINISH FOR MADS ØSTBERG!
WRC A FULL 2015
ANOTHER PODIUM FINISH FOR MADS ØSTBERG!.
Like in Mexico and Argentina, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson finished on the podium at Rally Finland in their DS 3 WRC.
The Nordic crew remains third in the World Championship and the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team consolidates its second place in the Manufacturers’ championship standings.
The WRC switches to tarmac for the next round, Rallye Deutschland, on 20-23 August.
RALLY FINLAND (30/7-2/8/2015) – FINISH
3 August 2015
All three DS 3 WRCs set off again this morning for a short loop featuring just two stages. Kris Meeke, Khalid Al Qassimi and Mads Østberg used the first run on Myhinpää to find their marks before the Power Stage.
First on the road, Kris Meeke set the third fastest time, just ahead of Mads Østberg. After a long regroup, the crews tackled this very fast stage for a second time in the final showdown. Kris Meeke claimed a bonus point by grabbing the third best time. Mads Østberg was fifth fastest on the Power Stage, securing his third podium finish of the season. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi enjoyed an error-free rally.
Thanks to his third place finish, Mads Østberg scored 15 points to remain third in the Drivers’ World Championship. With the extra point claimed by Kris Meeke, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team now holds a slender advantage in second position in the Manufacturers’ standings.
Third in the WRC2 category since the opening day, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot also completed the event on the podium in their DS 3 RRC. This highly positive result serves as the perfect warm-up for the young French driver’s competitive debut in the DS 3 WRC at Rally Germany in three weeks’ time.
In the FIA Junior WRC, the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert snatched the win by the narrowest of margins, finishing just 0.5 seconds ahead of the Finn Henri Haapamäki. The Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby took the final podium place.
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “We let our drivers decide on their own strategy for this weekend. They showed their ability to drive very fast on these roads, which are regarded as something of a benchmark in the World Championship. Both Kris and Mads showed that they were capable of being among the frontrunners in Finland with the DS 3 WRC. The work done by the entire team has clearly paid dividends. Kris’ mistake does not call this approach into question. Both drivers will be able to decide upon their own tactics in Germany and in Australia. Another podium finish is also further proof that the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is making progress and it gives us confidence for the rest of the season.”
Mads Østberg: “It’s been an excellent weekend for us. Although we lost a bit of time at the start, we were able to find our rhythm pretty quickly. We showed that we could be competitive and set some good times throughout the rally. I’m very happy to finish on the podium. The feeling was particularly good in the DS 3 WRC. It’s incredibly enjoyable to drive such a fast and responsive car on these super-quick roads. All I had to do was listen to the pace notes and drive fast. It was really great fun. And that’s also why I’m a rally driver. I love my job!”
Kris Meeke: “In terms of competitiveness, we showed that we have progressed compared with where we were last season here. The changes to the DS 3 WRC have been very positive and we were able to get very close to the leaders. It’s always frustrating when you don’t come away with a result, but the conditions were particularly difficult this weekend. It was good to rejoin this morning and score a point in the Power Stage. At the end of the day, there are lot of positive points and one small negative…”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “Given the conditions we encountered throughout the weekend, I decided not to take any risks. On some stages, our pace notes weren’t always perfect. I therefore preferred to take it easier and try to get the balance right, because this was the first time I have driven the DS 3 WRC on these roads. On the last test, I upped my pace by about 20% and it went pretty well. The stages are difficult, but really beautiful. It’s really enjoyable to race here!”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “I had been hoping for a top-five finish ahead of this weekend in Finland. So to finish on the podium is especially pleasing. We are now going to concentrate on preparing for Rallye Deutschland, where I’ll be driving the DS 3 WRC for the first time competitively. I hope I can adapt to it quickly.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS19 – Myhinpää 1 (14.13km) – With the roads still damp, the rally leader Jari-Matti Latvala took the stage win ahead of Sébastien Ogier, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg. Khalid Al Qassimi set the sixteenth fastest time. In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert was handed a ten-second penalty, enabling Henri Haapamäki to close to within just 2.4 seconds.
SS20 – Power Stage Myhinpää 2 (14.13km) – Sébastien Ogier topped the timesheets to net three bonus points, followed by Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke. Latvala therefore won the fastest ever World Championship rally, at an average speed of over 125kph. Sébastien Ogier and Mads Østberg took the other podium places. Khalid Al Qassimi and Kris Meeke ended up in 17th and 18th positions. In the WRC2, Stéphane Lefebvre finished in third position whilst Quentin Gilbert claimed his third win in four events in the FIA Junior WRC, ending just 0.5 seconds clear of runner-up, Henri Haapamäki.
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:33.03.8
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +13.7
3. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:36.8
4. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:58.7
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:29.3
6. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:44.3
7. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:20.3
8. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:11.2
9. Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5) +8:52.2
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +9:37.4…
17. Khalid Al Qassimi / Chris Pattersson (DS 3 WRC) +16:20.7
18. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +21:39.7…
Jari-Matti Latvala, 10 – Sébastien Ogier, 9 – Kris Meeke, 1
SS1: Sébastien Ogier
SS2: Kris Meeke
SS3 to SS7: Sébastien Ogier
SS8 to SS20 (finish): Jari-Matti Latvala
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1- Sébastien Ogier 182 points
2- Jari-Matti Latvala 93 pts
3- Mads Østberg 84 pts
4- Andreas Mikkelsen 83 pts
5- Thierry Neuville 70 pts
6- Kris Meeke 54 pts
7- Elfyn Evans 53 pts
8- Ott Tänak 50 pts…
9- Khalid Al-Qassimi 9 pts
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1- Volkswagen Motorsport 257 pts
2- Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 141 pts
3- Hyundai Shell WRT 139 pts
4- M-Sport WRT 126 pts…
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