Saturday 8 February 2014

Rally - VW wins Sweden

At the end of the final Day 3 (or Day 4 if you count the Wednesday evening kid-on) it was Volkswagen at the top of the results table again, but this time Jari-Matti Latvala took top honours by just less than a minute from Andreas Mikkelsen whereas team mate Sebastien Ogier had to be content with sixth place after an amazing fight-back from an off on Thursday morning.

After starting the day in sixth position, Kris Meeke lost seven minutes when he went off and got stuck in snow bank on SS18. Nonetheless he managed to finish the rally in tenth position, scoring eight points for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team in the process. But his team mate really starred in difficult conditions, Mats Østberg scoring a tremendously hard fought third place.

Afterwards Kris said: “I think I can be pleased with this first rally on snow. The only minor mistake we made proved very costly. If there had been spectators around, we would probably have only lost fifteen seconds or so. But we had to get the car out ourselves. However, the rest of the weekend went very well. We have learned a lot. The main thing for me is that we managed to get close to the leading guys. And finishing in the points is encouraging for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, team mate Mads Østberg could be well chuffed with his perfformance: “We have made a lot of progress since Friday. I’m pleased to finish on the podium in Sweden for the fourth year running! The three points from the Power Stage are a nice bonus. I feel more and more confident in the car, which is promising for the next few events. We have learned a lot and now I can’t wait to tackle the gravel rallies.”

Elfyn Evans went off on the final stage, but unlike the tenacious Robert Kubica, who had more offs than a drunk skateboarder and still managed to finish, he was stuck in the snow and slush.

Khalid Al Qassimi with Chris Patterson finished 16th in the third Citroen while there was an excellent result for Craig Breen and Scott Martin first time out in a proper Fiesta RS WRC world car with 10th overall . Rounding off the ‘British/Irish’ challenge were Eamon Boland and Michael Morrissey who finished 25th in their Subaru Impreza.

Final Leaderboard:
1, J. Latvala, 3:00:31.1,
2, A. Mikkelsen, 3:01:24.7, +53.6
3, M. Østberg, 3:01:30.6, +59.5
4, M. Hirvonen, 3:02:58.0, +2:26.9
5, O. Tanak, 3:03:31.6, +3:00.5
6, S. Ogier, 3:05:01.0, +4:29.9
7, H. Solberg, 3:05:18.6, +4:47.5
8, P. Tidemand, 3:06:09.3, +5:38.2
9, C. Breen, 3:09:26.5, +8:55.4
10, K Meeke, 3:11:49.1, +11:18.0
Drivers’ World Championship Standings after 2 rounds: 
1. Jari-Matti Latvala, 40 points 
 2. Sébastien Ogier, 35 points
3. Mads Østberg, 30 points 
 4. Andreas Mikkelsen, 24 points
5. Bryan Bouffier, 18 points
6. Kris Meeke, 17 points 
 7. Mikko Hirvonen, 13 points
8. Ott Tanak, 10 points
9. Elfyn Evans, 8 points
10. Henning Solberg, 6 points

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