WRC A FULL 2016
Breen and Lefebvre make it to the end of Rally Poland!.
Heavy rain on the short third and final leg of Rally Poland led to an incident-packed morning. Craig Breen and Scott Martin managed to negotiate the tricky conditions to claim seventh overall. Despite a minor impact, Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau managed to finish in the points, thanks in no small part to the work of the Abu Dhabi Total WRT mechanics.
3 July 2016
After two days contested in high temperatures, rain fell on the final day of Rally Poland. The wet weather made conditions tricky to manage for the crews, who unsurprisingly chose to fit soft-compound Michelin LTX Force tyres for the leg.
On the first pass on Baranowo, Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre set the eighth and ninth fastest times respectively. The race was then turned on its head on the next stage, Sady. Stéphane Lefebvre took a corner flat out and his car was thrown into an impressive spin, the rear left-hand side clattering a tree.
Despite substantial damage to the wheel and rear bumper, the Frenchman managed to get to the end of the stage, having to stop en route to let Sébastien Ogier past. To complete the three kilometres of road section, the crew made some improvised repairs, enabling the car to drive on all four wheels to the service park.
The PH Sport team mechanics then had half an hour to make the WRC roadworthy again. They repaired the rear of the car whilst replacing the transmission and the suspension. The no. 7 crew set off just two minutes late, which resulted in a 20s time penalty.
Stéphane and Gabin thanked the team for their efforts by setting two good times on the remaining stages (6th and 4th), despite the increasingly difficult conditions. They ended up finishing ninth overall.
Having inherited seventh place after his team-mate’s misfortunes, Craig Breen found himself with large gaps to the cars ahead and behind. The Irishman therefore took no risks and concluded his race with two seventh fastest times.
Overall, this has been a positive Rally Poland for Abu Dhabi Total WRT and its drivers, who were able to stay with the pace of the world’s leading drivers on one of the quickest events of the season. Following this fourth 2016 rally, the team is now able to announce its forthcoming outings. At Rally Finland (28-31 July), three cars will be entered for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Khalid Al-Qassimi/Chris Patterson. The team will also be entering a car at Rally China (8-11 September) for Meeke.
Craig Breen (#8): “The result of this rally has exceeded all my expectations! The idea was to try and pick up where we left off in Sweden, but it was nonetheless five months since I last drove this car! I found the rhythm very quickly, setting some encouraging times on the first few stages. We were consistent, avoided making any major mistakes and made it to the end in a good position. Today’s final leg was incredibly difficult. We managed the first loop well, but the second pass was awful. As regards the standings, we were a little bit stuck in no man’s land, with huge gaps to the cars in front and behind. It meant that we could take it easy. I want to thank the team again and everyone who has given my this opportunity. I am already looking forward to continuing to improve in Finland at the end of the month.”
Stéphane Lefebvre (#7): “On SS19, I was a little bit too optimistic on a long right-hand bend. The corner tightened slightly; I wanted to stay flat out but the car was thrown into a spin. We hit a tree, which broke the rear left-hand suspension. We nursed the car back to service and the PH Sport mechanics did a fantastic job to enable us to finish the rally. Thanks, guys! I was also as cautious as possible on the second runs, but it was still very difficult to keep the car on the road. With the sand mixed with the mud, there was pretty much no grip. In spite of today’s tough final day, I think it has been a pretty good rally for us. We made a step forward in terms of performance since we cut the gap per kilometre to the leading drivers again and we claimed our first ever WRC stage win.”
1. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo R WRC) 2:37:34.4
2. Tanak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +26.2
3. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +28.5
4. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +29.3
5. Latvala / Anttila (VW Polo R WRC) +33.8
6. Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo R WRC) +40.3
7. Breen / Martin (DS 3 WRC) +2:01.4
8. Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:04.6
9. Lefebvre / Moreau (DS 3 WRC) +5:12.0
10. Camilli / Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:23.1
Media Abu Dhabi Total WRT
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