Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle produced a series of remarkable performances throughout Rally Finland to secure third place in their DS3 WRC.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team consolidates its second position in the World Rally Championship standings.
The next event on the calendar, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, will be contested on tarmac on 21-24 August.The short but tricky final leg of Rally Finland saw Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle confirm their third place. Never out of the top three from the very first stage, Kris held firm on Ruuhimäki and Myhinpää – driven at an average speed of close to 132kph – to rack up his third podium in 2014, after Monte-Carlo and Argentina.
In addition to the fifteen points earned at the end of the rally, the Briton also picked up an extra point by finishing third in the Power Stage.
Leader from start to finish in his DS3 R3, the Slovakian Martin Koci secured his first win in the FIA Junior WRC. He finished ahead of the Frenchman Quentin Giordano and the Australian Molly Taylor, the first woman to claim a podium finish in this category.
A change of scenery awaits the crews in less than three weeks’ time. They return to tarmac roads at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, from 21 to 24 August, for the season’s eighth round.
Kris Meeke: “This podium is even more special than the others. We kept in touch with the leaders throughout the two days. We then protected our position, but we ended the rally less than a minute behind the winner. I know we’ve still got some work to do before we can really challenge for the win. But for the time being I’m happy with third place and the experience acquired for the future. Next year, I hope I can fight to do even better!”
Marek Nawarecki (Citroën Racing Deputy Team Principal): “This podium rounds off a fine Finnish campaign for Citroën after Mads Østberg won the Helsinki Rally Battle. It was a very important event for the team and Kris produced a superb performance, combining consistency and speed. He managed to make the most of the experience acquired in 2013 and the pre-rally testing. The rest of the season should be more favourable for Citroën. It’s down to us to make use of all the work that has been done to date.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDEDSS24 – Ruuhimäki 1 (6.79km) – On the first run on Ruuhimäki, Jari-Matti Latvala finished ahead of Sébastien Ogier by 1.6 seconds. Kris Meeke finished in third place. Craig Breen, who was running ninth, was forced to retire at the end of the stage after injuring his back.
SS25 – Myhinpää (23.02km) – On this stage, completed at an average speed in excess of 134kph, Sébastien Ogier reclaimed 1.3 seconds from the leader Jari-Matti Latvala. The top two drivers headed for the final stage with just 3.7 seconds between them. Hayden Paddon lost two places after a problem with his car’s power steering. Juho Hänninen moved up into sixth position ahead of Elfyn Evans.
ES26 – Ruuhimäki 2 (6.79km) – The top of the rally leaderboard remained unchanged after the Power Stage. Despite recording a better time, Sébastien Ogier was unable to move ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who finished second on the test but won the overall rally. Kris Meeke rounded off the top 3.
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS1. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:57:23.22. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +3.63. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +50.64. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:52.55. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:49.76. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:29.07. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:25.88. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6:17.89. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +12:07.010. Karl Kruuda / Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta R5) +14:44.7…