FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2016): ABU DHABI TOTAL WRT ENYOYS A FINAL FLOURISH AT RALLY SWEDEN
WRC A FULL 2016
Abu Dhabi Total WRT enjoys a final flourish at Rally Sweden.
Featuring just the one stage, day three of Rally Sweden was over in a flash. Confirming their impressive speed, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle finished in the top three on the Power Stage. Craig Breen/Scott Martin held onto eighth place overall, whilst Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson also made it to the end of the rally.
Like on the opening two days, the Rally Sweden organisers were forced to adjust the course to take account of snow cover on the roads. Sunday’s leg was therefore limited to the 15.87km-long Värmullsåsen Power Stage.
The second driver to set off, Kris Meeke went faster than Jari-Matti Latvala. The Northern Irishman held onto the lead as many drivers down the running order completed, including Thierry Neuville, who came within three thousandths of the second of beating his time. However, with the racing line becoming increasingly clean, Andreas Mikkelsen and then Sébastien Ogier moved ahead of Kris, who therefore ended third on the rally’s final stage.
Craig Breen was tenth fastest on the Power Stage, thus securing eighth place in the overall standings. Khalid Al Qassimi also made it to the end of the rally, finishing in 19th place.
Craig Breen (#15): “I have really enjoyed driving this car. Sometimes, it felt like I was driving in a video game! Getting to the end was the main aim so I’m glad to have made it here and I’ve got some very good experience. I also scored my first points in the WRC, which is an important milestone. I couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend; thank you to everyone that has given me this fantastic opportunity!”
Khalid Al-Qassimi (#14): “I struggled to find the right rhythm this morning, I backed off too much. Overall, I’m pleased to have made it to the end of such a difficult rally. The performance level of the team was good; this was especially true of Kris, who could have challenged for the win if he had not had such bad luck again. Craig also did a very good job on his first rally with Abu Dhabi Total WRT, which is very encouraging for the future.”
Kris Meeke (#7): “I drove well on the Power Stage, even though I was a bit hesitant in places. Once again, the conditions had changed so much since recce! It was no surprise that the guys behind me went quicker, because my starting position wasn’t ideal on this stage. For me it’s been a rally of what could have been, but the speed was there. Victory was on the cards. Despite the weather in the lead-up to the rally, in the end, we were able to drive in typically wintry conditions and that can only be beneficial for us at next year’s event.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1- Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) 1h59:47.4
2- Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +29.8
3- Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 55.6
4- Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:10.8
5- Tanak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:50.7
6- Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:24.0
7- Solberg / Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:40.0
8- Breen / Martin (DS 3 WRC) +2:44.6
9- Evans / Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +5:17.0
10- Suninen / Markkula (Skoda Fabia R5) +5:31.6
… 19. Al Qassimi / Patterson (DS 3 WRC) +9:48.1
… 23. Meeke / Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +13:56.8
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