Citroën: The DS3 WRCs finish in the points
— The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team notched up more points at the end of Rallye Deutschland, as Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson claimed seventh overall and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle finished in twelfth position.
— Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot produced a very strong performance, finishing in the top ten on their maiden appearance in the DS 3 WRC.
— The next round of the FIA World Rally Championship will be held in Australia on 10-13 September.
The aim of the DS 3 WRCs was to make it to the end of this short final leg, whilst remaining ready to seize any opportunities to move up in the overall standings.
On the first run on Stein & Wein (SS18), Kris Meeke made the most of Martin Prokop’s misfortune – a double puncture – to move up another place in the overall standings. The British driver – who had lost around ten minutes on Friday’s leg – ended the event on a positive note, since he finished second on the Power Stage. His performance enabled him to grab twelfth position.
Meanwhile, Mads Østberg battled it out with Elfyn Evans for sixth as he gradually reduced the gap to the fastest drivers. Despite spinning on the Power Stage, the Norwegian finished seventh overall.
Winner of last year’s FIA Junior WRC title in a DS 3 R3 and having learned more about rallying at this level since the start of the season in a DS 3 R5 and a DS 3 RRC, Stéphane Lefebvre produced a flawless performance on his debut in the DS 3 WRC. Meticulous and incredibly consistent on his maiden WRC appearance, he concluded the event in tenth place, scoring his first point in the World Rally Championship!
After the German tarmac, the DS 3 WRCs will shortly head for Oceania’s dusty gravel roads. Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke will be competing at Rally Australia on 10-13 September.
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “Kris Meeke confirmed that he was competitive on tarmac and on gravel. Unfortunately, his mistake was a very costly one in terms of the overall result. After losing time on the first day as he looked for the right rhythm, Mads Østberg showed he was capable of fighting in the midfield on a surface which is difficult to get to grips with. On his first rally in the DS 3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre had an impressive race, which will have surprised many onlookers. He applied the instructions given to him by the team to the letter and the end result is beyond our expectations. His stage times and his splits were very interesting. We are keen to keep supporting him as he improves.”
Mads Østberg: “I had a good feeling in the car at the end of the rally and we progressed throughout the race. We went faster and faster the more stages we completed. I’m fairly pleased to see that my driving on tarmac improved during the rally, even though seventh position isn’t really what we were aiming for at the start.”
Kris Meeke: “As our chances of a good result disappeared after my mistake on Friday, we had to find other sources of motivation. Three kilometres into the Power Stage, I felt confident so I decided to push to try and score a few points. It means that the rally ends on a positive note, but overall it has been a disappointing weekend. I’m going to keep working to eliminate these errors and I hope to do better at the next few rounds on tarmac, especially the Tour de Corse, which will be new for everyone.”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “The aim was to finish in the top ten, and we did just that and so I scored my first point in the World Championship! We improved as we completed more stages and we managed to reduce the gap separating us from the leading crews. It was a positive weekend and we didn’t make any major mistakes. I’m really pleased to finish this race and to have collected so much experience. I hope it’s the start of a long series with the DS 3 WRC!”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS18 – Stein & Wein 1 (19.59km) – Elfyn Evans claimed the stage win as he fought with Mads Østberg for sixth place. The Norwegian slipped back to 7.3s behind the Welshman. Stéphane Lefebvre set the eighth fastest time, just ahead of Kris Meeke.
SS19 – Dhrontal 1 (14.08km) – The Power Stage rehearsal was won by Jari-Matti Latvala, followed by Dani Sordo and Elfyn Evans. Kris Meeke grabbed the fifth fastest time, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre was ninth and Mads Østberg was eleventh.
SS20 – Stein & Wein 2 (19.59km) – After the service period, overall leader Sébastien Ogier claimed another stage win, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg. Stéphane Lefebvre was ninth fastest to close on Hayden Paddon in the overall standings.
SS21 – Power Stage Dhrontal 2 (14.08km) – Jari-Matti Latvala won the Power Stage, trailed by Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo. Sébastien Ogier secured the overall win, followed by his team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Mads Østberg finished seventh overall, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre was tenth and Kris Meeke ended in twelfth position.
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