The very short final leg of Wales Rally GB promised to deliver a dramatic, nail-biting finale. For the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team crews, the aim was to hold onto their positions in order to score the points required to confirm second place in the manufacturers’ championship.
As gale force winds and heavy rain battered the final four stages, Kris Meeke and #madsstberg managed to keep out of trouble and make it to the end of the rally. Ott Tänak’s retirement on SS16 promoted #madsstberg to seventh place, whilst Kris Meeke racked up his seventh podium in the World Championship as he finished as runner-up.
The FIA Junior #wrc season ended with a maiden win for Ole Christian Veiby. The Norwegian took the class victory, ahead of the Frenchmen Thierry Folb and Pierre-Louis Loubet. Ole Christian Veiby therefore ended as runner-up in the championship, just behind Quentin Gilbert. In the #wrc 3, Quentin Gilbert also won the title from Ole Christian Veiby and Simone Tempestini, all three driving DS 3 R3-MAXs.
Yves Matton (Citroën #racing Team Principal): “Now is not really the time for celebrating, given the circumstances. Obviously, our thoughts are with the victims of the Paris attacks. The sporting result is secondary, but it was nonetheless important to finish off the job here. Thank you and well done to the team for their hard work throughout the year. I’m really proud of them. In addition to successfully defending both WTCC titles, we have achieved all our targets in rallying with second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, a #wrc rally win and the #wrc 3 title, which shows that we are still leading the way in promoting talented young drivers. I would also like to thank #madsstberg, Jonas Andersson, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle for their commitment throughout the season.”
Kris Meeke: “I felt comfortable all weekend in the DS 3 #wrc and our performances reflected that. It was a very difficult rally, but I really enjoyed it. Finishing as runner-up here in Wales was a great way to round off the season and secure second place in the manufacturers’ championship.”
Mads Østberg: “After what happened yesterday, we really had to focus above all else on finishing the rally. I’m pleased because we have had a good season and we have finished second in the manufacturers’ standings. We have achieved the target set for us at the start of the year!”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “We learned a lot again this weekend at what is a very tough, demanding rally. I feel increasingly confident in the DS 3 #wrc. It’s a fantastic result and it’s very positive to finish a full and exciting season less than half a second per kilometre off the pace of the leading drivers.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS16 – Brenig 1 (10.64km) – Having rejoined under Rally 2 regulations, Jari-Matti Latvala won the opening stage of the day, trailed by Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo. Kris Meeke grabbed the fifth fastest time, whilst #stphanelefebvre was ninth and #madsstberg was tenth. Ott Tänak went off, forcing him to retire.
SS18 – Great Orme (4.74km) – Whilst the organisers closed off the stage to spectators due to the poor weather conditions, Jari-Matti Latvala made it a hat-trick of stage wins, ahead of Robert Kubica and Hayden Paddon. #stphanelefebvre grabbed the sixth fastest time, whilst Kris Meeke was ninth and #madsstberg was tenth.
SS19 – Brenig 2 (10.64km) – Jari-Matti Latvala completed the perfect leg in winning the Power Stage, with Andreas Mikkelsen second and Robert Kubica third. Kris Meeke was fourth fastest, whilst #madsstberg finished seventh on the stage and #stphanelefebvre was eighth. Sébastien Ogier therefore won the season’s final rally, ahead of Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen. #madsstberg finished seventh overall and #stphanelefebvre was eighth.
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:03:02.0
2. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +26.0
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +36.2
4. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:51.3
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:00.5
6. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:09.1
7. #madsstberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +4:28.4
8. #stphanelefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +5:38.4
9. Robert Kubica / Maciek Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:22.7
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:05.0
Sébastien Ogier, 9 – Jari-Matti Latvala, 4 – Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen, 2 – Kris Meeke and Ott Tänak, 1.
SS1 to SS19 (finish): Sébastien Ogier
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Sébastien Ogier 263 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 183 pts
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 171 pts
4. #madsstberg 116 pts
5. Kris Meeke 112 pts
6. Thierry Neuville 90 pts
7. Elfyn Evans 89 pts
8. Dani Sordo 89 pts
12. Khalid Al-Qassimi 9 pts
19. #stphanelefebvre 5 pts
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 413 pts
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 230 pts
3. Hyundai Shell WRT 224 pts
4. M-Sport WRT 181 pts…
Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.
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