In fact, just 9.1 seconds covered the top four as they started the final Leg. The running order was changed again, and although Kris continued to set a strong pace from the opening kilometres, he was unable to hold off Jari-Matti Latvala. However there was some satisfaction to be had as he managed to hold off Andreas Mikkelsen to finish third. After just missing out on a podium at Rally Australia in 2014, Kris made sure of a top-three result this year.
After his setback on Day 1, Stéphane Lefebvre was quicker on the second run over the stages and finished thirteenth overall, claiming one manufacturers’ championship point in the process.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team now heads back to Europe for the eleventh round of the season. In France, the DS 3 WRCs are set to contest the Tour de Corse for the first time. The last four occasions the rally featured in the WRC, between 2005 and 2008, it was won by Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in the Citroën Xsara WRC and Citroën C4 WRC.
Afterwards, Kris said: “We achieved the first target which was to make it to the finish and be consistent. I would point out that we led the rally for almost two days. I think we did a very good job and we couldn’t really have expected to do much more on the final leg. We have to keep working hard.”
Marek Nawarecki (Deputy Team Principal) commented: “We knew that Kris could be very competitive in Australia. He got the best out of the car, the conditions and his strategy. He was able to grab the lead in the early stages of the rally and defended his podium spot right to the end. Obviously, we’re sorry that Mads was injured during recce. We hope he will recover quickly, in time to take part in pre-event testing for the Tour de Corse.”
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:59:16.4
2. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +12.3
3. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +32.6
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +38.5
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +55.0
6. Ott Tänak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:38.0
7. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:08.3
8. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:15.2
9. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:33.7
10. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Mathieu Baumer (Ford Fiesta RRC) +11:46.5...
13. Stéphane Lefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +16:10.4