Saturday 12 September 2015

Rally - Day 1 in Oz

At the end of Day 1 on the Coates Hire Rally Australia, there were 3 Volkswagens in the top four places - and one Citroen! Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle finished the day in second place just 2 seconds off the pace of rally leader, Jari Matti Latvala.

Despite a few overnight showers in the area, the roads were dry by Friday morning. During a series of three brand new tests, Kris Meeke established himself in the top three. He then won the longest stage of the morning (SS4, Newry Long), meaning that he headed for midday service as the overall leader.

In the afternoon, the conditions changed. With the racing lines partially swept clear of dust, Kris had to defend his position as the earlier starters began to make up ground. Overall leader ahead of the day’s final stage, he ended the leg in second overall, just two seconds behind Jari-Matti Latvala after having been held up by the hanging dust on his run.

Kris commented: “I’m pleased with my day. We took advantage of our starting position this morning to make a good start to the rally. We lost first place on the final stage of the day, but I couldn’t do much more to defend the position, given the dust clouds that reduced our visibility. There will be more sweeping tomorrow. We’ll see how the rally goes, bearing in mind that the most important thing is to make it to the finish and be consistent. If the opportunity
presents itself, then we’ll try to fight for the win.”

Three weeks after making his competitive debut in the DS 3 WRC at Rallye Deutschland, Stéphane Lefebvre was back in action the main WRC squad, but hit a rock and was forced to retire. He will rejoin the rally today (Saturday) and will be first on the road.

Leaderboard after Day 1:
1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:15:29.1
2. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +2.0
3. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +4.6
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +12.9
5. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +15.9
6. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +25.5
7. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +37.2
8. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +40.2
9. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:21.8
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:37.9...
17. Stéphane Lefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +11:25.5

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