Friday, 3 July 2015

Rally - Meeke on a roll

Some events start with a bang. Literally. Kris Meeke made it hard for himself on Rally Poland at yesterday’s shakedown when he rolled his Citroen DS3 - four times. Overnight, the Citroen boys did what they do best, build cars under pressure, and Kris was ready for action this morning.

There were eight stages today in two loops with drivers and co-drivers having to make changes to the set-up of their cars and put on tyres at the end of the first loop.

At average speeds of over 130kph, Meeke made a fine start to the day with a third-fastest time. Looking to find the right feeling in the car whilst running second on the road, Mads Østberg adopted a more measured pace to slot into the top 10. By the end of SS5, after a run on one stage of almost 40 kilometres, Meeke held fifth place, whilst  Østberg was just a few seconds behind.

At Goldap, the crews chose their tyres for the next loop. Kris opted for five Michelin LTX Force S4 soft tyres. Meanwhile, Mads mixed the compounds, with four soft S4s and two hard H4s.

In the very high temperatures, the soft compound tyres reached their limits on the second run on the 39km-long Stanczyki stage. Meeke lost around twenty seconds before spinning on SS8. He ended the day in eighth position. Meanwhile, Østberg’s decision to opt for two hard tyres paid dividends. Despite being handed a penalty for jumping the start on Goldap, the Norwegian moved up the standings and closed to within ten seconds of his team-mate.

At close of play, Kris commented: “It’s always difficult to get the pace right at the start of rallies that are as quick as this. I was nonetheless fairly pleased with my performance this morning when we were fifth. For the second loop, we didn’t make the right tyre choice and we lost a lot of time as a result.”

In the FIA Junior WRC, British driver Osian Pryce leads the standings from the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert and the Italian Simone Tempestini.

Leaderboard after 8 stages:
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:17:42.5
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2.1
3. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +10.8
4. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +16.7
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +35.9
6. Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +37.4
7. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +41.3
8. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +1:07.1
9. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:15.0
10. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:15.5

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