Citroën racing reclaims second place after the Tour de Corse
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team reclaimed second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings after both its cars finished in the top six at the Tour de Corse.
Kris Meeke & Paul Nagle ended up fourth overall in Ajaccio, ahead of Mads Østberg & Jonas Andersson in sixth place. Competing in a third DS 3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre & Stéphane Prévot finished just outside the points.
Road conditions remained fairly demanding in the south of Corsica for the final day of the Tour de Corse. Between Porto-Vecchio and Ajaccio, each crew had to complete the final three timed stages – and almost 95 kilometres – without any service break. Only two tyre changing zones were organised before the start of SS7 and the Power Stage.
Despite being surprised by damp patches in some sections, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers concentrated on defending their positions with the aim of moving back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings.
Just 6.5 seconds ahead of Kevin Abbring as he set off on the final morning, Kris Meeke saw his rival go off the road on SS8. The Northern Irishman therefore finished just shy of a podium place in fourth.
Mads Østberg benefited from Kevin Abbring’s retirement, but was unable to hold off a charge from Hayden Paddon towards the end of the rally. The Norwegian therefore retained sixth place and scored important points, enabling the team to move back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings whilst also strengthening his hold on fourth position in the drivers’ championship.
Stéphane Lefebvre continued to learn about competing at this level on some of the most demanding tarmac roads in world rallying. The talented young Frenchman drove his DS 3 WRC with a mix of tyres for the first time, combining hard and soft Michelin Pilot Sport compounds. He reached the end of his first Tour de Corse in the WRC in eleventh position, less than 14 seconds outside of the top ten. Stéphane Lefebvre will be competing at the Rally RACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada in a DS 3 WRC as part of his 2015 programme and to allow him to acquire even more experience.
In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert now has an unassailable lead in the championship standings. Winner for the fourth time this season in his DS 3 R3-MAX, he therefore succeeds Stéphane Lefebvre as JWRC champion and will drive a DS 3 R5 in a WRC2 programme next season*.
Kris Meeke: “It was a difficult rally, with one-off conditions. I didn’t feel confident at the start, but the aim was above all to finish the rally without any problems. Even this morning, we weren’t expecting the roads to be so slippery in places. Fourth place is a solid result. I would have liked to be quicker, but the points scored – both by me and by Mads – were very important. At the end of the rally, we have reclaimed second place in the manufacturers’ standings.”
* Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.