The difference between third and fourth at the end of Rally de Portugal was a mere 20 seconds after three days of hard, fast and dusty driving, with Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle just failing to hang on to that early third place in their Citroen DS3. There’s just no getting away from it at present, but Volkswagen have the best car and one heck of a line-up of talented drivers.
However, both Meeke and Mads Østberg have added to their points tallies in this year’s World Rally Championship.
Unusually, the pictures and the quotes didn’t arrive till this morning, normally I get these late on the Sunday evening at the end of each world series round, but the pics from the Citroen Racing/Austral outfit are always worth waiting and show Kris and Paul chatting with the Boss and some action from the stages.
At the finish a positive Kris commented: “We were competitive throughout the weekend. Usually, this kind of performance would lead to a place on the podium. We were fighting at the front right from the word go. At the halfway stage, we were only six seconds behind the leader. Although the result wasn’t quite what we had hoped for, overall it was a very positive weekend and we’re now fourth in the championship. So I’m very happy about that.”
Mads Østberg added: “We showed very strong pace at the end of the rally. We had to push hard to make up the time we had lost to Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo. I think we performed very well. The aim was to make up nine seconds on the final day and we did more than that. It’s encouraging before we tackle Rally Italia Sardegna, which is one of my favourite events.”
As for the Boss, Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal), he said: “We can be pleased with the result at the end of this year’s Rally de Portugal. With both our cars finishing in good positions, we have met the targets we set ourselves before the start. There are a number of reasons to be satisfied: the DS 3 WRCs were competitive and we were fighting at the front for more than two days. We have also taken points off our rivals in the Manufacturers’ standings and strengthened our hold on second position.”