Sunday 14 February 2016

Rally - Ogier's Swedish

Just one final stage on day three of Rally Sweden brought things to a conclusion with Sebastien Ogier claiming his third victory on this event in four years and his 34th career win! Confirming their impressive speed, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle finished in the top three on the Power Stage in their DS3 while Craig Breen/Scott Martin held onto eighth place overall.  Abu Dhabi Total WRT team mates Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson also made it to the end of the rally in 19th place.

Sunday’s leg was limited to the 15.87km-long Värmullsåsen Power Stage where Kris Meeke was running second on the road and held on to the lead as many drivers down the running order completed, including Thierry Neuville, who came within three thousandths of the second of beating his time. However, with the racing line becoming increasingly clean, Andreas Mikkelsen and then Sébastien Ogier moved ahead of Kris, who therefore ended third on the rally’s final stage.

Craig Breen was tenth fastest on the Power Stage, thus securing eighth place in the overall standings. Khalid Al Qassimi also made it to the end of the rally, finishing in 19th place.

A disappointed but philosophical Kris Meeke said: “I drove well on the Power Stage, even though I was a bit hesitant in places. Once again, the conditions had changed so much since the recce! It was no surprise that the guys behind me went quicker, because my starting position wasn’t ideal on this stage. For me it’s been a rally of what could have been, but the speed was there. Victory was on the cards. Despite the weather in the lead-up to the rally, in the end, we were able to drive in typically wintry conditions and that can only be beneficial for us at next year’s event.”

Craig Breen added: “I have really enjoyed driving this car. Sometimes, it felt like I was driving in a video game! Getting to the end was the main aim so I’m glad to have made it here and I’ve got some very good experience. I also scored my first points in the WRC, which is an important milestone. I couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend; thank you to everyone that has given me this fantastic opportunity!”

Provisional Final Leaderboard:
1, Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo-R WRC) 1h 59:47.4
2, Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +29.8
3, Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 55.6
4, Mikkelsen / Jaeger (VW Polo-R WRC) +1:10.8
5, Tanak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:50.7
6, Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:24.0
7, Solberg / Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:40.0
8, Breen / Martin (DS 3 WRC) +2:44.6
9, Evans / Parry (Ford Fiesta R5) +5:17.0
10, Suninen / Markkula (Skoda Fabia R5) +5:31.6

 ... 23, Meeke / Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +13:56.8

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