FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2015): CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM – CITROËN RACING RECLAIMS SECOND AFTER THE TOUR DE CORSE
WRC A FULL 2015
CITROËN RACING RECLAIMS SECOND AFTER THE TOUR DE CORSE.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team reclaimed second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings after both its cars finished in the top six at the Tour de Corse.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ended up fourth overall in Ajaccio, ahead of sixth-placed Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson.
Competing in a third DS 3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot finished just outside the points.
TOUR DE CORSE (1-4/10/2015) – FINISH
4 October 2015
Road conditions remained fairly demanding in the south of Corsica today. Between Porto-Vecchio and Ajaccio, each crew had to complete the final three timed stages – and almost 95 kilometres – without any service break. Only two tyre changing zones were organised before the start of SS7 and the Power Stage.
Surprised by the damp patches in some sections, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers concentrated on defending their positions with the aim of moving back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings.
Just 6.5 seconds ahead of Kevin Abbring as he set off this morning, Kris Meeke saw his rival go off the road on SS8. The Northern Irishman therefore finished just shy of a podium place in fourth.
Mads Østberg benefited from Kevin Abbring’s retirement, but was unable to hold off a charge from Hayden Paddon towards the end of the rally. The Norwegian therefore retained sixth place and scored important points, enabling the team to move back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings whilst also strengthening his hold on fourth position in the drivers’ championship.
Stéphane Lefebvre continued to learn about competing at this level on some of the most demanding tarmac roads in world rallying. The talented young Frenchman drove his DS 3 WRC with a mix of tyres for the first time, combining hard and soft Michelin Pilot Sport compounds. He reached the end of his first Tour de Corse in the WRC in eleventh position, less than 14 seconds outside of the top ten. As part of his 2015 programme and to allow him to acquire even more experience, Stéphane Lefebvre will be competing at the RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada in a DS 3 WRC.
In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert now has an unassailable lead in the championship standings. Winner for the fourth time this season in his DS 3 R3-MAX, he therefore succeeds Stéphane Lefebvre as JWRC champion and will drive a DS 3 R5 in a WRC2 programme next season*.
Yves Matton: “One of our objectives for this season is to finish second in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. Finishing with both DS 3 WRCs in the top six of the Tour de Corse means we are now back in second position in the standings. It is therefore a satisfactory result at the end of what proved to be a rather unusual event. We have two rallies left to consolidate our position. In Spain and in Wales, we have to be just as focussed and committed to achieve our goal.”
Kris Meeke: “It was a difficult rally, with one-off conditions. I didn’t feel confident at the start, but the aim was above all to finish the rally without any problems. Even this morning, we weren’t expecting the roads to be so slippery in places. Fourth place is a solid result. I would have liked to be quicker, but the points scored – both by me and by Mads – were very important. At the end of the rally, we have reclaimed second place in the manufacturers’ standings.”
Mads Østberg: “The weather made the race especially difficult. I’ve never witnessed conditions like these at a rally. On the first day, we were mainly trying to get to the end of the stages and that worked out pretty well. When the roads dried out, we weren’t as quick and we lost a few places. Sixth position is still a good result for us, for both championships. It’s unusual to tackle such long stages and you need to manage the brakes and the tyres. We’re now going to focus on Rally Catalunya and its mixed-surface itinerary. I’m looking forward to getting back onto gravel after missing Rally Australia.”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “We learned a lot once again in the DS 3 WRC during this Tour de Corse. The conditions were terrible on the first two days. I didn‘t take any risks to get as many kilometres as possible under my belt. When the roads dried out, we were able to give everyone a glimpse of our speed. Given our limited experience, better weather gives us the chance to show we can be competitive. Unfortunately, we made a mistake on the Power Stage which cost us a place in the top ten.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS7 – Sotta – Chialza (36.71km) – With the stage starting at 7.25am, the roads were still damp in places. Sébastien Ogier won the stage, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Kris Meeke beat Kevin Abbring to consolidate fourth place overall, whilst Mads Østberg came under increasing pressure from Hayden Paddon in the fight for sixth position. Stéphane Lefebvre made up more than ten seconds on Ott Tanak to close on eleventh place. Dani Sordo moved into the points by climbing two positions.
SS8 – Zerubia – Martini (41.46km) – Kevin Abbring, who was running in fifth overall, went off the road. All the drivers further down the standings moved up a position. Hayden Paddon grabbed fifth, moving ahead of Mads Østberg. Dani Sordo claimed the stage win, trailed by Sébastien Ogier. Kris Meeke remained fourth overall and Stéphane Lefebvre continued to close the gap to Ott Tanak as he chased a points-finish.
SS9 – Bisinao – Agosta Plage – Power Stage (16.74km) – Sébastien Ogier, Robert Kubica and Jari-Matti Latvala collected the bonus points available in the Power Stage. Dani Sordo took advantage of the final stage to move up to seventh overall, just behind Mads Østberg, who finished sixth, and Kris Meeke, who ended fourth. Jari-Matti Latvala won the rally, with Elfyn Evans runner-up and Andreas Mikkelsen third. Well-placed to claim a top-ten finish, Stéphane Lefebvre span his car on the final hairpin and had to settle for eleventh overall.
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:39:46.7
2. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +43.1
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +46.3
4. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +1:33.4
5. Hayden Paddon / John Keenard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:53.6
6. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:59.8
7. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:10.4
8. Bryan Bouffier / Thibault de la Haye (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:12.8
9. Stéphane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:39.3
10. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:43.0
11. Stéphane Lefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +3:56.3…
Sébastien Ogier, 4 (including 1 tied) – Elfyn Evans, Jari-Matti Latvala and Dani Sordo, 1 – Robert Kubica 1 tied.
SS1 and SS2: Sébastien Ogier and Robert Kubica
SS3 to SS5: Elfyn Evans
SS6 to SS9 (finish): Jari-Matti Latvala
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Sébastien Ogier 238 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 160 pts
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 126 pts
4. Mads Østberg 98 pts
5. Thierry Neuville 86 pts
6. Kris Meeke 83 pts
7. Elfyn Evans 81 pts
8. Hayden Paddon 66 pts
12. Khalid Al-Qassimi 9 pts
29. Stéphane Lefebvre 1 pt
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1- Volkswagen Motorsport 369 pts
2- Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 184 pts
3- Hyundai Shell WRT 183 pts
4- M-Sport WRT 170 pts…
* Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.
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