Kris Meeke scores heavily with style to spare

Kris Meeke scores heavily with style to spare

14.09.2014: COATES HIRE RALLY AUSTRALIA (11-14/09/2014) – FINISH WRC AUSTRALIA 2014 Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle showed real determination

COATES HIRE RALLY AUSTRALIA (11-14/09/2014) – FINISH   WRC AUSTRALIA 2014




    Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle showed real determination today to hunt down fourth place at Rally Australia for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

    Despite suffering a mechanical problem in the closing stages of the rally, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson made to the end in their DS3 WRC.

    The next event will be Citroën’s home round, the Rallye de France-Alsace, held on 2-5 October.

 

After being handed a penalty yesterday evening, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle left the service park in fifth position. On the first stage of the day, the DS3 WRC crew moved up a place ahead of Mikko Hirvonen. Throughout the leg, the British driver produced the kind of pace that would have secured him another podium spot. In particular, he claimed the stage win on Wedding Bells 1 (SS17).


After grabbing third place on the Power Stage to add a bonus point to his championship tally, Kris Meeke finished fourth overall at Rally Australia.


More competitive since Saturday, Mads Østberg’s name also featured near the top of the timesheets, setting the fourth fastest time on Bucca 1 (SS16) and finishing third fastest on Wedding Bells 1 (SS17). Unfortunately, he had to stop to repair a broken rear suspension arm on SS19. The Nordic crew managed to get going again after spending ten minutes or so working on the car, limping over the finishing line in a disappointing sixteenth position.



QUOTE, UNQUOTE


Kris Meeke:
“It’s a bit of a strange feeling… To be honest, I think this is my strongest performance so far this season, even though we have finished fourth with the penalty. Seb and Jari are still out of reach for the moment. In Finland, in Germany and this week in Australia, we have been fighting at the front. This is my first full season in WRC, but I feel I’m getting stronger and stronger. We’ll have to keep it up at the Rallye de France.”


Mads Østberg:
“It was a tough weekend for us although we did improve the more stages we completed. We were able to show our speed and managed to defend our position against Hayden Paddon. Unfortunately, we had a damaged rear suspension arm on the penultimate stage. We were able to repair it in order to finish the race, but we were really unlucky. We’ll have to switch our focus now to the Rallye de France, Citroën’s home event.”


Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):
“We saw that Kris was capable of setting some very good times without really pushing today. He had the potential to end the rally within thirty seconds of the winner. Mads had more difficulties at the start of the rally. But he showed that he had the ability to improve and get closer to Kris’ times. He has the required talent, he just has to find a bit more confidence.”



HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED



SS15 – Shipmans 1 (24.72km) – Jari-Matti Latvala put rally leader Sébastien Ogier under pressure with the fastest time on the opening stage of the day. He cut the Frenchman’s lead to 9.8 seconds. Third fastest on this stage, Kris Meeke quickly retook fourth overall from Mikko Hirvonen. Mads Østberg had to respond to Hayden Paddon’s attempts to close the gap.


SS16 – Bucca 1 (10.86km) – Ogier wasted no time in reacting, beating Latvala by 1.4 seconds, whilst Kris Meeke finished third again. Mads Østberg went fourth fastest to send a strong message to his rival for sixth place.


SS17 – Wedding Bells 1 (9.23km) – A third stage win of the rally for Kris Meeke, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Østberg, who consolidated his sixth position.


SS18 – Shipmans 2 (24.72km) – A slight advantage to Sébastien Ogier in the battle for overall victory as he took the stage win after the service period. Kris Meeke grabbed the third fastest time, whilst Mads Østberg was seventh.


SS19 – Bucca 2 (10.86km) – Latvala and Ogier continued to exchange blows but the Frenchman held an eight-second lead before the final stage. Kris Meeke also consolidated his position with the fourth fastest time. Mads Østberg stopped on the stage with suspension damage. With the help of co-driver Jonas Andersson, he managed to repair the DS3 WRC and get going again.


SS20 – Wedding Bells 2 Power Stage (9.23km) – Despite winning the Power Stage, Jari-Matti Latvala was unable to catch the leader, finishing as runner-up in the final standings. Second on this final stage, Sébastien Ogier held on to win the rally. Kris Meeke picked up the final bonus point as he grabbed third place on the stage. However, Andreas Mikkelsen finished third overall, to take the final podium spot. Mads Østberg managed to make it to the finishing line.



FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS


    Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:53:18.0
     Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +6.8
    Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:18.0
    Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1.44.0
    Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:53.6
    Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:56.2
    Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:28.2
    Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:10.0
    Robert Kubica / Maciej Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:39.8
    Chris Atkinson / Stéphane Prévot (Hyundai i20 WRC) +9:29.4…
    Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +19:34.8…


FASTEST TIMES


Sébastien Ogier, 10 (including 1 tied) – Jari-Matti Latvala, 7 – Kris Meeke, 3 – Andreas Mikkelsen,1 (including 1 tied).



LEADERS


SS1, SS2, SS7, SS8, SS11 to SS20 (finish): Sébastien Ogier

SS3 to SS6: Kris Meeke

SS9 and SS10: Jari-Matti Latvala



DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS


    Sébastien Ogier 214 points
    Jari-Matti Latvala 164 points
    Andreas Mikkelsen 125 points
    Mikko Hirvonen 83 points
    Thierry Neuville 79 points
    Mads Østberg 74 points
    Kris Meeke 67 points
    Elfyn Evans 61 points…


Marie-Pierre Rossi,Adrien da Cunha Belvès- photos Citroen

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14.09.2014 / MaP

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