Podium for Mads Ostberg in Portugal
He also scored a bonus point by finishing third on the Power Stage
— Having already finished on the podium in Sweden, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson clinched third place at Rally de Portugal in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Citroën DS3 WRC.
— The Norwegian and the Swede also scored a bonus point by finishing third on the Power Stage.
— Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson ended the rally in thirteenth position.
Thanks to the work put in since the start of Rally de Portugal, Mads Østberg was able to tackle this morning’s stages with three new soft tyres out of the set of five he took with him.
Third overall as he set off on SS14, over three minutes ahead of his closest rival, the Norwegian treated himself to a stage win on SS15 before tackling the Power Stage.
Committed and sharp, he grabbed third place in this final test, adding a bonus point to the fifteen he claimed for finishing third overall in the rally.
Khalid Al Qassimi continued to work with the technical team to find the right balance for the remaining technically challenging stages, still partially covered in mud. The Abu Dhabi made it to the finish in thirteenth position.
With the sixteen points he collected this weekend, Mads Østberg consolidated his third place in the Driver’s World Rally Championship. The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team remains second in the Manufacturers’ standings. The next round of the WRC will be held in Argentina on 8-11 May.
Mads Østberg: “This second podium finish of the season, the first on gravel, has been earned through the hard work done by the entire team since the start of the year. We are making progress at every rally and in each test session. This third place is an excellent result and the point from the Power Stage is a bonus. That was our aim before the start. We didn’t take too many risks during the rally. It augurs well for the rest of the season. We’ll be able to aim even higher in future.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “We worked hard throughout the rally to find the right set-up. This rally is a very specific test. I was looking to find the right set-up in order to have a well-balanced car. I’m pleased with what we managed to do at such a difficult rally. I am now going to turn my attention to the upcoming rounds of the Middle East Rally Championship.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Mads Østberg’s third place demonstrates the ability of the team to compete with the leaders. We have all worked hard to improve and to try and achieve strong results. This podium finish is another good step forward in the first third of the season. We hope we can keep improving. I would also like to congratulate the crews that took part in the FIA Junior WRC this weekend. They proved themselves to be competitive and consistent and there was a good atmosphere in the service park. Congratulations to Stéphane Lefebvre for his brilliant win in the Citroën DS3 R3.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS14 – Loulé 1 (13.83km) – Having rejoined under Rally 2 rules, Jari-Matti Latvala went fastest on the first run on Loulé. He finished ahead of Mads Østberg. Khalid Al Qassimi set the eighteenth fastest time. Dani Sordo was forced to retire on the road section before the stage.
SS15 – San Bras de Alportel (16.21 km) – Mads Østberg grabbed the stage win, finishing six seconds ahead of Mikko Hirvonen.
SS16 – Loulé 2 (13,83 km) – Rally leader Sébastien Ogier set the fastest time on the Power Stage, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Østberg. The rally was won by Ogier, with Mikko Hirvonen second and Østberg third. Khalid Al Qassimi finished thirteenth overall.
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