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Challenging Rally for Mads Østberg

Third at the start of the final day of Rally Italia Sardegna, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson just about managed to hold onto fifth place in the overall standings.

This result takes the Norwegian up to second position in the Drivers’ World Championship. Khalid Al-Qassimi and Chris Patterson finished in the top 10, whilst Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle collected precious points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, still second in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. The next round of the WRC will be Rally Poland, held on 02-05 July.

After two long legs, the final day of Rally Italia Sardegna looked set to be less hectic. The crews nonetheless had to tackle four stages, with 45.80km of timed sections completed without any service period.

As there were clear gaps between the cars, the DS 3 WRC drivers were not considering making any out-and-out attacks. However, during the first pass on Olmedo Monte Baranta (SS20), Mads Østberg went off the road after a bizarre and unfortunate series of circumstances. Distracted by losing one of his ear plugs, the Norwegian ran wide on a corner where he had a bad pace note.

Østberg’s DS 3 WRC ended the stage over a minute off the pace and dropped down to fourth position. With his rear suspension and brakes damaged, Mads was forced to drive slowly to the end of the event. He could do nothing as he dropped another place on the next test, but just about managed to hold off Jari-Matti Latvala and hang onto fifth at the end.

Having taken tenth position on the opening stage of the day, Khalid Al-Qassimi continued his sensible, disciplined run to add another point to his tally. Kris Meeke finished a long way back from the leaders but secured two extra Manufacturers’ points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

After two retirements due to an off on Friday and electrical problems on Saturday, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévôt rejoined again on Sunday morning in their DS 3 RRC. The 2014 Junior WRC champion showed some real form to grab two top-three stage times in the WRC 2 class.