Citroën finishes as runner-up in WRC
Wales Rally GB
— With its eighth podium finish of the season, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team secured second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
— Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson finished third overall at Wales Rally GB. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ended in sixth position, after a dramatic final leg.
— Mads ended the season in fifth place in the Drivers’ championship, whilst Kris finished seventh. In the Co-drivers’ standings, Jonas finished fourth and Paul took seventh.
After two solid days, the two DS3 WRCs set off this morning for the final six stages of the season in third and fourth positions in the overall standings.
Whilst pushing to try and grab second place, Kris Meeke ran slightly wide into a ditch on the day’s opening stage. Despite being faster than Mikko Hirvonen on the opening three stages of the morning, a puncture at the front and a blistered tyre at the rear made matters difficult for the rest of the final leg.
Full of confidence, Mads Østberg secured several stage wins. The Norwegian’s performances ensured he pull clear of his nearest challengers to consolidate his position.
In the second half of the leg, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle looked after their tyres. Concentrating on making it to the end of the rally, they dropped just over a minute to finish in sixth place.
Mads Østberg took advantage of Meeke’s misfortune to grab third place in the overall standings. With co-driver Jonas Andersson, he collected another podium finish to add to those secured in Sweden, Portugal and Italy.
The 23 points scored by the crews in Wales, the joint second best result of the season along with Sweden, ensured that the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team finished as runners-up in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
After rejoining under Rally2 rules, Stéphane Lefebvre continued to add to his experience in the DS3 R5. He finished in eleventh place in the WRC2 category. He concluded his season with the FIA Junior WRC and WRC3 titles.
Mads Østberg: “The aim was to finish on the podium. We fought a lot at the start of the rally. But intercom and tyre problems left us down in fourth position. This morning, I had a very good feeling again. We were able to win a couple of stages and we have finished the rally on the podium. I’d like to thank the entire team. This first year in the DS3 WRC has been especially rewarding and the atmosphere in the team is fantastic. I have never experienced anything like it before!”
Kris Meeke: “I made a minor mistake when we were fighting for second place in the rally. After that, I sacrificed the result to make sure Citroën finished as runner-up in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. I’m disappointed but it’s an experience I’ll take forward with me into the future. We have got quicker and quicker throughout the season, and that’s very positive.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “It’s a very good end to the season. Mads’ podium finish is an excellent performance to round off the year. Second place in the championship means we have achieved one of the goals we set ourselves. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team and our partners for their investment in 2014. The challenge was a big one given that we were competing in two World Championships.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS18 – Brenig 1 (10.81km) – Mads Østberg began the final day with a stage win. Kris Meeke, who set off two minutes behind him, ran wide into a ditch and picked up a puncture. He nonetheless finished ahead of Mikko Hirvonen and moved closer to second place overall.
SS19 – Alwen 1 (10.04km) – Mads Østberg claimed a second stage win. Kris Meeke was second fastest, a second ahead of Mikko Hirvonen. Andreas Mikkelsen went off, forcing him to retire.
SS20 – Kinmel Park 1 (2.21km) – Jari-Matti Latvala was the fastest on the first pass on this short stage. Sixth fastest, Mads Østberg consolidated his position whilst Kris Meeke closed to within 1.6 seconds of Mikko Hirvonen in second place. An oil leak meant Henning Solberg was unable to start the stage.
SS21 – Kinmel Park 2 (2.21km) – Just like on the first run, Jari-Matti Latvala set the fastest time. As he attempted to look after his tyres, Kris Meeke dropped three seconds. Mads Østberg moved closer to his team-mate place in third.
SS22 – Alwen 2 (10.04km) – Kris Meeke eased off to try and avoid damaging an underinflated tyre. Jari-Matti Latvala won the stage, ahead of Mads Østberg who moved up into third position.
SS23 – Brenig 2 (10.81km) – Jari-Matti Latvala won the Power Stage, ahead of Thierry Neuville and Mads Østberg. Sébastien Ogier claimed the overall rally win, ahead of Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Østberg. Whilst avoiding taking any risks, Kris Meeke made it to the finish in sixth place, scoring important points for the championship.
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