WRC A FULL 2016
Meeke finishes in style as Breen seals strong result!.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were in sublime form on the final day of Tour de Corse, as the pair won both the speed tests. In the second Abu Dhabi Total WRT car, Craig Breen and Scott Martin confirmed their potential as they secured a top-five finish on their first tarmac rally in a WRC.
Following two very demanding legs, day three of the Tour de Corse was a much shorter affair. Despite the reduced number of kilometres, the final stages were not to be taken lightly! The route went through Antisanti – Poggio di Nazza, the longest stage of the rally at 53.78km, before concluding with Porto-Vecchio – Palombaggia (10.42km), contested as the Power Stage.
Having rejoined under Rally2 rules after their minor impact yesterday, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle had the privilege of running first on the road. Pushing hard from start to finish on SS9, the British-Irish duo claimed a stunning stage win, finishing 35.3s ahead of the second-placed crew, i.e. more than 6/10ths per kilometre!
Although he remained fifth overall after the test, Craig Breen wasn’t pleased with his time, slowed by pace notes taken in 2015 that were clearly unsuited to the greater speed of the WRC.
After changing tyres on the outskirts of Porto-Vecchio, the crews set off on the Power Stage, the final test before the end of the rally. Once again, no one could keep pace with Kris Meeke. Andreas Mikkelsen came closest, finishing just five tenths of a second behind the Ulsterman. Craig Breen managed his lead over Hayden Paddon to meet his target of finishing in the top five of the overall standings!
The Abu Dhabi Total WRT will continue its season at Rally de España (13-16 October) with three cars entered for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Khalid Al-Qassimi/Chris Patterson. The team’s season will conclude at Wales Rally GB (27-30 October). Four cars will be entered for their final outing of the year. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin will be competing at home – or as close as they get to home in the WRC – whilst Stéphane Lefebvre will make his much-anticipated return with a co-driver who shall be revealed at a later stage. Lastly, Quentin Gilbert and Renaud Jamoul will complete the line-up in Wales after having competed in the WRC2 championship this season in a DS 3 R5.
Craig Breen: “This week has been pretty intense and tough, but we’re obviously delighted to finish in the top five at the Tour de Corse. Everything went really well and we have got a bit more experience under out belt, both in a World Rally Car and at what is undoubtedly the most difficult tarmac rally. Fifth overall is very much in line with the target we had set ourselves before the start. And we’ve also improved with every kilometre and set some really good times. I’d like to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to compete here and who have supported me throughout this rally!”
Kris Meeke: “For me, it was very important to get back to top form this morning. I had to get back the confidence in my pace notes, after the mistake we made in recce had led to yesterday’s incident. It’s a timely reminder that this part of the race is important. The rally doesn’t start on Friday, it starts on Monday, when we have to describe every corner during the two runs on each stage at low speed. It’s a good lesson for us and one we’ll take on board for the future. This morning, I was pleased with my time on SS9 and I’m also happy to have won the Power Stage, even though the points are rather meaningless as I’m not competing in the championship. I’m looking forward to coming back to the Tour de Corse, to try and fight for the win.”
UNOFFICIAL FINAL STANDINGS
1. Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo R WRC) 4:07:17.0
2. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +46.4
3. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo R WRC) +1:10.0
4. Latvala / Anttila (VW Polo R WRC) +1:35.6
5. Breen / Martin (DS 3 WRC) +2:18.6
6. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:36.1
7. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:06.9
8. Camilli / Veillas (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:53.9
9. Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:37.7
10. Tanak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:26.6
16. Meeke / Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +22:35.2
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