The Citroën DS3 WRCs move up the standings
— The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team took advantage of day two of Rallye Deutschland to make up places in the overall standings.
— Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson now lie seventh overall, whilst Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle are fourteenth.
— In the third DS 3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot continued their error-free race in the top ten.
Day two of Rallye Deutschland is widely regarded as especially daunting, featuring the full array of tricky sections that the event can serve up. With the winding roads through the Mosel vineyards, the very fast forest roads in Saarland and the concrete of the Baumholder military base, the crews’ ability to adapt to the conditions was tested throughout the leg.
On dry roads, but with mud dragged onto the racing line in places as more cars came through the stages, Mads Østberg was consistently quicker than Hayden Paddon. The Norwegian overtook his rival after setting the sixth fastest time on the 45.61 kilometre-long Panzerplatte Lang 1. In the afternoon, the third-placed driver in the World Championship standings continued to push and gained another position and moved ahead of Ott Tanak. He will start the final day hoping to take sixth place from Elfyn Evans, who holds a slender 3.2s lead.
Having dropped down to 25th position last night after ending the leg at a reduced pace, Kris Meeke set off again this morning with a perfectly prepared DS 3 WRC. The Northern Irishman started his long fightback. With four top-three stage times, he returned to Trier this evening in fourteenth place.
Continuing his learning experience, Stéphane Lefebvre managed to negotiate all of the day’s stages without making any mistakes. The young French driver, who is making his debut appearance in the DS 3 WRC at this year’s Rallye Deutschland, even came close to recording a maiden stage win when he finished second on SS12. He will begin tomorrow’s leg in tenth position.
The final day of 2015 Rallye Deutschland features four stages. The crews will leave parc ferme at 6.10am for two identical loops on Stein & Wein (19.59km) and Dhrontal (14.08km). The first and second passes will be split be a service period. At 12.08pm, Dhrontal 2 will be used for the televised Power Stage, shortly before the rally is scheduled to finish opposite the Porta Nigra Roman gate in Trier at around 3pm.
Mads Østberg: “We tried to make up a few positions today. The DS 3 WRC was working perfectly and I tried to adopt a good rhythm. It worked pretty well on Panzerplatte. This stage is really demanding. The surface can provide a lot of grip, and then it changes in nature and becomes very slippery. You have to get used to it, but I really like this place with huge jumps and a great atmosphere. We managed to get ahead of Paddon and Tanak and we’re only three seconds behind Evans. It’s going to be very interesting again tomorrow!”
Kris Meeke: “After Ogier and Latvala, we were probably the quickest out there today. After we spent the first few kilometres getting back up to speed this morning, our pace was good this afternoon. I think we drove well, especially on Panzerplatte where we managed the tyres well. It’s always enjoyable to drive a WRC, although the situation is pretty frustrating. We just have to keep going tomorrow.”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “Today’s itinerary was very different from one stage to the next. We had to adapt. My first time on Panzerplatte in a four-wheel drive car was a memorable experience. I tried to put into practice the advice I had been given by not pushing too much and looking after the tyres, and the result was fairly encouraging. We learned a lot and I’m starting to get a good feeling in the DS 3 WRC. I’m beginning to understand its reactions and to anticipate them. We have to make it to the end tomorrow and keep on improving.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS9 – Grafshaft 1 (18.35km) – With no retirements at all among the WRC drivers, the running order was identical to the day before. First on the road, Sébastien Ogier went fastest, followed by Elfyn Evans. The DS 3 WRCs of Mads Østberg, Kris Meeke and Stéphane Lefebvre finished the stage bunched together between ninth and eleventh place.
SS10 – Boseberg 1 (17.13km) – The stage win went to Jari-Matti Latvala who cut Ogier’s lead to under ten seconds. Kris Meeke set the fourth fastest time, whilst Mads Østberg was eighth and Stéphane Lefebvre was twelfth.
SS11 – Arena Panzerplatte 1 (2.87km) – On the first run on the short Panzerplatte test, Sébastien Ogier racked up another stage win, ahead of Dani Sordo. Sixth fastest time for Meeke, just ahead of Lefebvre. Mads Østberg was ninth fastest.
SS12 – Arena Panzerplatte 2 (2.87km) – Second fastest time for Stéphane Lefebvre, just behind the overall leader, Sébastien Ogier. Kris Meeke was sixth and Mads Østberg finished ninth.
SS13 – Panzerplatte Lang 1 (45.61km) – First pass on the longest stage of the rally: Sébastien Ogier claimed the stage win, beating Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke. Mads Østberg got past Hayden Paddon to claim eighth position. Stéphane Lefebvre set the tenth fastest time. Kris Meeke finished the morning in seventeenth place.
SS14 – Grafshaft 2 (18.35km) – After the midday service, Kris Meeke continued to make progress in the standings with the third fastest time behind Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier. Seventh fastest, Mads Østberg was fighting with Ott Tanak for seventh overall, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre consolidated his tenth position.
ES15 – Arena Panzerplatte 3 (2.87km) – Third fastest time for Kris Meeke, just 0.2s slower than Jari-Matti Latvala’s stage-winning time. Further back, just a tenth of a second separated Mads Østberg and Stéphane Lefebvre’s times.
SS16 – Panzerplatte Lang 2 (45.61km) – The second run on Panzerplatte Lang saw Kris Meeke produce another fine performance, finishing just behind Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. Seventh fastest time for Mads Østberg, who disposed Ott Tanak of seventh place. Stéphane Lefebvre closed on Hayden Paddon with the ninth fastest time.
SS17 – Boseberg 2 (17.13km) – Sébastien Ogier ended the day with another stage win. Mads Østberg was fifth fastest, putting Elfyn Evans under pressure ahead of the final leg. Kris Meeke recorded another third fastest time, whilst Stéphane Lefebvre ended the day in tenth place.
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