CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT ALREADY FOCUSED ON PORTUGAL
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT used today's final leg in the demanding competitive testing conditions provided by Rally Argentina to keep working on its C3 WRC, whilst also setting some probing times.
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle moved up a place in the standings to finish seventh overall, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson concluded their first WRC outing of the season in fourteenth position.
The asados, the famous Argentinian barbecues, had been going strong in the mountains of El Condor and Giulio Cesare for several days, at almost 2,000 metres above sea level. The local fans wanted to be sure of getting the best vantage point in order to see the WRCs on this final leg! Huge crowds were in evidence this morning, perched on the rocks overlooking the mountain roads, famous for providing the cars with a very serious examination of their reliability and strength, due to their especially bumpy nature.
Despite being hampered by running very high up the order (3rd), Kris Meeke once again showed the qualities of the C3 WRC. After finishing fourth – just 2.8s off the stage-winning time – on the first run on Copina – El Condor (16.43km), he moved up into seventh, a position he held until the end of the rally. Already looking ahead, Kris also took advantage of the last few stages to conduct some full-scale testing for Portugal, and saw his persistence and determination rewarded with a fifth fastest time (3.7s off the pace over 16.43km) on the Power Stage, earning him one bonus point.
Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi was first on the road and therefore forced to sweep the loose gravel from the roads on stages that are known to become rutted as more cars complete. He could take some satisfaction from having made it to the end of the rally, feeling that he had gradually got to grips with the C3 WRC on his first competitive outing in the car after many months away from the WRC.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It was a good day for us: we did set-up tests for Portugal and it was informative. The feeling was very good in the car. Apart from that, and the frustration of not being able to bring home the result that we deserved, the main thing for me is that the upgrades introduced this weekend to the C3 WRC enabled us to be a lot more consistent. I felt confident throughout the weekend, even when fighting for the podium. I felt that I had the situation under control at all times and we need to keep going in this direction.”
Khalid Al Qassimi
“Obviously, I’m disappointed for the team that we didn’t manage to secure a result that would reflect our real performance level. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to see our C3 WRC make regular progress and I’m convinced that this will lead to some good results very shortly. On a more personal note, running first on the road didn’t make life easy for me today, but I was happy to be back with the team and enjoy the atmosphere of the championship again.”
FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS
1. Tänak / Jarveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:43:28.9
2. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 37.7
3. Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:15.7
4. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 1:58.6
5. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 2:02.6
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 3:06.3
7. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) + 3:25.7
8. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 4:32.6
9. Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 5:38.6
14. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) + 21:18.3
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Sébastien Ogier – 100 points
Thierry Neuville – 90 points
Ott Tänak – 72 points
Andreas Mikkelsen – 54 points
Dani Sordo – 45 points
Kris Meeke – 43 points
Esapekka Lappi – 40 points
Jari-Matti Latvala – 31 points
Elfyn Evans – 26 points
Craig Breen – 20 points
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Hyundai WRT – 144 points
M-Sport Ford WRT – 129 points
Toyota Gazoo Racing – 124 points
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 93 points