Magic Meeke leads with his CitroÃ«n C2 Super 1600! A breathtaking fight-back by Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson, which will surely be remembered for a long, long time to come, has enabled the British pair to take the lead in the provisional JWRC...
Magic Meeke leads with his Citroën C2 Super 1600!
A breathtaking fight-back by Kris Meeke and Glenn Patterson, which will surely be remembered for a long, long time to come, has enabled the British pair to take the lead in the provisional JWRC standings... by just six tenths of a second! Julien Pressac and Jack Boyère follow in 3rd place and the two Citroën C2 Super 1600 crews are ideally placed to follow up their day's performance when action resumes with tomorrow's short yet extremely demanding final leg.
Today's leg, the longest of the weekend, saw a change of backdrop as competitors moved on to the infamous Baumholder army camp and its awesome stages which require total commitment from anyone wishing to set a quick time. "The loose top coating you can come across on the asphalt in places can really be a problem," confessed Kris Meeke. "The stages are a challenge from start to finish, whether the conditions are dry or wet. You've just got to be on your toes all the time." It was thanks to his two passes over the 30km Panzerplatte stage that the Ulsterman succeeded in hauling in his rivals. His misadventures of the previous day and his time-consuming puncture on today's opening test were already forgotten as Kris gave it everything he had to bridge the gap of more than two and a half minutes that separated him from top spot. "I had no other choice than to drive flat out. To stand any chance of catching and passing the leader before the flag I had to make up more than eight tenths of a second a kilometre," stresses Kris Meeke who went on to post five consecutive fastest times which enabled him to take command on the day's penultimate test. "It would have been nice if the rally had finished this evening; it's been so tough. The conditions were a cocktail of dry, damp, slippery and muddy roads that required maximum concentration all the time. It was very tough on the nerves," he recognises. "That said, tomorrow is another day. In a way, it's a new rally that begin s in the morning, with four stages to cover without service. We won't be able to make the slightest mistake."
It was an excellent day too for Julien Pressac and Jack Boyère who, in addition to figuring regularly at the top of the timesheets, succeeded in claiming the fastest time on the day's final stage which took them into 3rd place in tonight's provisional JWRC standings. "I will do all I can to defend my position tomorrow while at the same time maintain ing a bit of a safety margin," promises Julien. "It's been a good day and I'm delighted to have succeeded in scoring my first fastest time in the championship and I hope that I will be able to finish on the JWRC podium for the very first time."
The day failed to live up to expectations for the other Citroën C2 Super 1600 crews however. Martin Prokop and Jan Tománek damaged the rear left corner of their Jipocar Racing-run car in an off in a fifth gear corner, while Aaron Burkart and Tanja Geilhausen picked up a double puncture in their Prinz Racing Team car. "It's been a day of ups and downs," says Citroën Sport's Customer Competition Manager Yves Matton. "The objective was to be in the lead this evening and to have as many C2s as possible in the top places. With four cars inside the top- six, including two on the podium, we are on target for the moment thanks to our performance and reliability. We've just got to get through tomorrow now. Tomorrow's stages total around 60km and form a single loop without service, so choosing the right tyres will be vital given the unsettled weather we have had so far."