In securing seventh position overall, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle ensured the Citroën Rally Team held onto its second place in the Manufacturers’ WRC standings.
After running in third place in the overall standings at the start of rally, Kris Meeke had lost almost three minutes when he picked up a puncture on SS14. Relegated to eleventh position, the Briton began a long fightback.
Ninth at the start of the final day, the DS3 WRC driver got the better of Henning Solberg on SS21 before moving ahead of Hayden Paddon on SS23.
At the end of this event, which marked the midway point of the season, Kris finished seventh overall, scoring six World Championship points.
Sébastien Chardonnet and Thibault De la Haye rejoined this morning under Rally 2 rules. Using the final few kilometres of the rally to add to their experience, they even finished second fastest on SS23 in the WRC2 category, meaning they ended the event in eleventh position in their Citroën DS3 R5.
Leader from start to finish, Stéphane Lefebvre took his second consecutive win in the FIA Junior WRC. The Citroën DS3 R3 podium was completed by Alastair Fisher and Quentin Giordano.
Rally Finland, the next round of the World Rally Championship, will be held from 31 July to 3 August. The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will warm up for the rally by taking part in an exhibition in the streets of Helsinki on Saturday, 26 July.
Kris Meeke: “It was an interesting rally in terms of experience. We were among the frontrunners. Unfortunately, the stages in Lithuania didn’t work out very well for us and we then had a puncture on the long stage. Climbing back up from eleventh to finish seventh isn’t a bad result, but it could have been much better. I’m nonetheless pleased to have gained in confidence and gathered a lot of data to help us prepare well for the next round in Finland.”
Sébastien Chardonnet: “I had to adapt to the very high average speeds on the Rally Poland stages. I had to build up my confidence with a fairly soft set-up. We then upped our pace to try and get onto the podium. It was a good learning experience even if we ended up making a minor mistake. This morning, I really took advantage of the stages to test a harder set-up. This is our second rally with the Citroën DS3 R5 and we’ve had no technical issues whatsoever. My congratulations and thanks go to the MY Racing and Citroën teams. We learned a lot in Sardinia and here, on very road surfaces. I hope that will help us to be on the pace from the word go in Finland!”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Our drivers proved that the changes made to the set-up of the DS3 WRCs were heading in the right direction. Mads showed that he has the ability to match the best at the front in the second half of the season. Kris is beginning to pick up his pace and build his confidence. He managed the rally very well, especially on the stages where he was at a disadvantage due to his road position.”
HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED
SS21 – Milki 2 (14.54km) – The standings changed after the first stage of day, held in light rain. Jari-Matti Latvala grabbed fifth position from Juho Hänninen, whilst Kris Meeke moved ahead of Henning Solberg into eighth place.
SS22 – Kruklanki 2 (17.24km) – Stage win for Jari-Matti Latvala, ahead of Thierry Neuville and Kris Meeke. The Briton closed to within a tenth of a second of seventh place, held by Hayden Paddon.
SS23 – Super Special Stage Mikolajki Arena 4 (2.50km) – The fourth and final run on the super special stage saw Kris Meeke move past Hayden Paddon. The stage win went to Jari-Matti Latvala, followed by Juho Hänninen and Robert Kubica.
SS24 – Baranowo 2 Power Stage (14.90km) – Sébastien Ogier won the Power Stage and Rally Poland. On this final stage, he finished ahead of his team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Kris Meeke finished with fifth fastest time, securing seventh position overall.
FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:08:47.3 2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:07.7 3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:13.5 4. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:32.4 5. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:33.1 6. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:49.9 7. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +4:27.9 8. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:32.1 9. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:59.0 10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:11.3…
Sébastien Ogier, 10 – Jari-Matti Latvala,5 – Andreas Mikkelsen, 3 – Mads Østberg, 2 – Juho Hänninen and Thierry Neuville, 1 (two stages cancelled)
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Sébastien Ogier 146 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 116 points
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 83 points
4. Mads Østberg 66 points
5. Mikko Hirvonen 52 points
6. Thierry Neuville 46 points
7. Kris Meeke 38 points
8. Elfyn Evans 36 points
9. Martin Prokop 31 points
10. Henning Solberg 22 points…
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 262 points
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 115 points
3. M-Sport World Rally Team 90 points
4. Volkswagen Motorsport II 82 points
5. Hyundai Shell World Rally Team 80 points
6. Jipocar Czech National Team 34 points
7. RK M-Sport World Rally Team 19 points
8. Hyundai Motorsport N 8 points