MEEKE TAKES PODIUM IN FRANCE FOR CITROËN
After Monte-Carlo, Argentina and Finland, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claimed another podium at Rallye de France-Alsace, in their DS 3 WRC
Seventh podium finish of the season for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team helps to consolidate its second place in the Manufacturers’ championship standingsStéphane Lefebvre finished fourth in the FIA Junior WRC round to wrap up this year’s title. He will drive a DS 3 R5 in 2015 in the WRC2 categoryThe Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team began the final leg of the Rallye de France-Alsace with all eyes looking up to the heavens and glued to the weather forecast on the Météo France screens. The rain forecast for midday on Sunday persuaded both crews it was best to opt for a mix of three soft and three hard compound tyres. Their rivals did not all interpret the data in the same way, opting to go with anything from five hard tyres only to four hard and two soft tyres.
Despite large damp patches being present at the start of SS15 at sunrise, the vast majority of the roads remained dry. Kris Meeke managed his pace to remain in third position and claimed an important podium finish, adding to his tally in the World Championship standings.
Meanwhile, Mads Østberg spent the morning fighting for seventh place. The Norwegian grabbed his first ever stage win on tarmac on SS17 (Forêt de La Petite Pierre 2). He also only just missed out on a top-three finish in the Power Stage by a tenth of a second, scoring six points at the end.
Sébastien Chardonnet and Thibault De la Haye recorded a series of second and third-fastest times in their category to finish third in the WRC2 in their DS 3 R5.
Alastair Fisher grabbed his first win of the season in the FIA Junior WRC in the DS 3 R3, ahead of Eric Camilli and Quentin Giordano. Thanks to his fourth place finish, Lefebvre managed to secure the FIA Junior WRC title. He will therefore be driving a DS 3 R5 next season in the WRC2.
The World Rally Championship crews and teams return to action on 23-26 October in Spain at the only mixed surface event on the 2014 calendar.
Kris Meeke: “We were on the pace right from the very start of the rally. We then focused mainly on protecting our position. I feel we have been very consistent throughout the weekend and that’s what has helped us to pick up another podium finish. I think we can still improve and get some better results soon.”
Mads Østberg: “I’m very pleased to have made it to the end of this year’s Rallye de France. We had a few problems which prevented us from showing our full potential. But that’s part and parcel of rallying. When everything was working perfectly, we managed to set some good times. There are many positives to take away from this rally, starting with the points we won!”
Marek Nawarecki (Citroën Racing Deputy Team Principal): “The aim was to build on the knowledge and experience of the entire team at this event in order to fight for a place on the podium. Thanks to an exemplary performance, Kris Meeke has made sure we achieved that goal. This third place was important. Kris showed that he was quick and that he knew how to deliver a result. Mads’ rally was disrupted by a few technical issues. When he was feeling confident, he produced some fine performances. It has therefore been a pretty good weekend. With both our drivers finishing in the points, we have consolidated our second place in the Manufacturers’ standings.”