Friday 7 February 2014

Rally - Sweden Day 2

After starting the day in fifth position, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg grabbed third overall on SS8 while Kris Meeke cut the gap to the leaders to finish sixth.

At the overnight halt, Mads Østberg commented: “I’m starting to understand where we are losing time compared to the fastest drivers. But it’s difficult to find those extra few seconds. I’m trying to change my driving style so I can close the gap. The goal is to keep it up and try and hold onto our position until the end."

A better pleased Kris Meeke added: “The conditions were changing a lot this morning. As more cars came through the stages, the gravel was increasingly exposed under the snow. There was a lot more grip. I was pleased with my consistency, especially as some of the others ran into problems. I’m now sixth overall, and to be honest, that’s beyond the expectations I had for this rally.” 

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “The conditions were especially tough today. Mads upped his pace, whilst leaving a certain margin of safety. This is only his second rally in the Citroën DS3 WRC. Going after one of the top two places would involve taking risks that we feel are too great for his experience in the car. Kris continued to drive according to his feeling. He is racking up the miles in preparation for the races ahead. And that’s exactly what we asked him to do before the start."

Tomorrow’s closing leg features eight timed stages over a total of 142 kilometres. SS24, Varmullsesen, will be the Power Stage. The rally is due to finish in Karlstad at 5.27pm. 

STANDINGS AFTER 16 (of 24 stages) DAY 2:

1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:48:47.6
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Mikko Markkula (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +3.6
3. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +43.0
4. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:02.7
5. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:08.7
6. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +2:31.2
7. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:47.0
8. Pontus Tidemand / Ola Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:48.4
9. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +3:38.4
10. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:41.8

18. Khalid Al Qassimi / Chris Patterson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +9:53.4 

Craig Breen is just outside the top ten in an excellent 11th place with Eamon Boland in 28th place.

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