Citroën, a third position to defend
Meeke and Nagle have been in third overall since the end of SS5
Mads Østberg’s Citroën DS3 WRC was repaired overnight, enabling the Norwegian to rejoin this morning under Rally 2 rules. The third-placed driver in the World Championship standings set off in second position on roads that had been left muddy by the rain. Mads took advantage of the day’s stages to gather more experience. From eighteenth overall when he drove the car out of parc ferme this morning, Mads ended the day tenth position.
Third overall, Kris Meeke applied his strategy without making any mistakes. Managing to hold his position despite the rain, mud and fog, he moved ever closer to a second WRC podium finish.
There are four stages still to run tomorrow before the end of Rally Argentina. The final leg gets underway at 6.48am in Carlos Paz, featuring a total of 382 kilometres, including 76 kilometres of timed sections on El Condor – Copina and Giulio Cesare – Mina Clavero. The Power Stage is scheduled to start at 1.05pm with the rally due to finish from 2.48pm.
Kris Meeke: “After recce, we knew this would be the most difficult day of the rally. You need a great deal of experience to be able to go fast on these roads. We have learned a lot. It was important to avoid making any mistakes and we have achieved that goal. Overall, we’re very pleased with the day because we still have a two-minute lead over our closest challengers. We just have to keep it going to the end of the rally!”
Mads Østberg: “The stages were particularly difficult on the second runs. I did my very best, even though we can no longer fight at the front. Our aim is to at least score some points. In the ruts on SS9, I got a bad kick back through the steering. On the last stage, I could only use my left hand on the steering wheel. I hope the team doctor will be able to find a way of reducing the pain…”
Marek Nawarecki (Citroën Racing Deputy Team Principal): “The goals were clearly set today. Kris had to protect his third position whilst driving at a decent pace. He is learning all the time and improved between the two runs. The gap is big enough to feel confident going into the final day. For Mads, this was his first full day. He managed to up the pace. Unfortunately, he hurt his hand. We hope he will have recovered sufficiently tomorrow to be able finish the rally.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS6 – San Agustin – Villa del Dique 1 (39.99km) – Having rejoined under Rally 2 rules, Andreas Mikkelsen claimed the stage win ahead of Latvala, who extended his overall lead. Mads Østberg went fifth fastest. Kris Meeke finished seventh. Dani Sordo was held up by a problem with the turbocharger.
SS7 – Amboy – Yacanto 1 (39.16km) – Latvala proved to be the fastest in the rain. Mads Østberg went fourth fastest to move up to thirteenth overall, whilst Kris Meeke held onto third place.
SS8 – San Agustin – Villa del Dique 2 (39.99km) – Another stage win for Latvala, who further extended his overall lead. With fourth fastest time, Mads Østberg closed the gap to the top 10. Kris Meeke enjoyed a problem-free second run.
SS9 – Amboy – Yacanto 2 (39.16km) – Latvala took another stage win, extending his lead to Almost thirty seconds in the overall standings. Despite his hand being very painful, Mads Østberg finished fourth on this long stage. Kris Meeke set the seventh best time.
SS10 – Super Especial 2 (6.04km) – Both Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team won their head-to-head. Østberg beat Hirvonen and Meeke won against Evans. The fastest time went to Neuville, just ahead of Østberg.
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