Sunday 15 November 2015

Rally - Meerakle?

There was a brief moment of glory for Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke yesterday afternoon  when he led Wales Rally GB after SS11 (Dyfnant 1). Thierry Neuville had gone off, and held up Sébastien Ogier as he tried to get past his car on the stage. Kris temporarily inherited the overall lead, before the Clerk of the Course awarded Ogier an adjusted time which handed the advantage back to the former leader. The rotter (private opinion!)

Earlier, Kris Meeke had set off in second place on roads that the heavy rain had left sodden. Although he began by cutting the gap to rally leader Sébastien Ogier, he was particularly focused on consolidating his position and keeping ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen. He ended the day’s long second leg 24.7 seconds clear of the third-placed driver.

Mads Østberg picked up a puncture on SS8, dropping a place in the overall standings. He quickly regained fourth position from Dani Sordo, before then running into trouble on Dyfnant 1. After going off and becoming stuck in a ditch, he had to wait for spectators to come to their assistance before they could get away again. With almost two minutes lost, they finished the leg in eighth position.

At the end of the Leg, Kris commented: “We had a strong day, despite the difficult conditions. We are focused on our goal of finishing second in the manufacturers’ championship, so I tried hard to consolidate my position without taking any risks. We know it’ll still be very hard tomorrow.”

Mads Østberg said: “We had started at a good pace this morning, but after a puncture and minor off, we now have to look at the race from a different perspective. We really have to be careful now to make sure we bring home important points for second place in the manufacturers’ standings.”

The other top Brit, Elfyn Evans finished the day in 7th place: "I feel as though it's been a pretty good performance from us today. We didn't have the best run through Gartheiniog [SS7 and SS9], but apart from that we've been the best of the rest behind the leading pack. It's been a solid performance and we had a pretty decent run through the dark stages this evening [SS14 and SS15]. There's all to play for tomorrow so we'll push on and see what further gains we can make."

Sunday’s final leg of Wales Rally GB features four stages and is due to finish around 2pm this afternoon.

Leaderboard after Day 2
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:40:25.2
2. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +35.7
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:00.4
4. Ott Tanak / Raigo Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:41.1
5. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:55.8
6. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:13.9
7. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:18.3
8. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +4:21.9
9. Stéphane Lefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +5:32.6
10. Robert Kubica / Maciek Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:31.

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