Like in Mexico and Argentina, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson finished on the podium at Rally Finland in their DS 3 WRC.
All three DS 3 WRCs set off again this morning for a short loop featuring just two stages. Kris Meeke, Khalid Al Qassimi and Mads Østberg used the first run on Myhinpää to find their marks before the Power Stage.
First on the road, Kris Meeke set the third fastest time, just ahead of Mads Østberg. After a long regroup, the crews tackled this very fast stage for a second time in the final showdown. Kris Meeke claimed a bonus point by grabbing the third best time. Mads Østberg was fifth fastest on the Power Stage, securing his third podium finish of the season. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi enjoyed an error-free rally.
Thanks to his third place finish, Mads Østberg scored 15 points to remain third in the Drivers’ World Championship. With the extra point claimed by Kris Meeke, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team now holds a slender advantage in second position in the Manufacturers’ standings.
Third in the WRC2 category since the opening day, Stéphane Lefebvre and Stéphane Prévot also completed the event on the podium in their DS 3 RRC. This highly positive result serves as the perfect warm-up for the young French driver’s competitive debut in the DS 3 WRC at Rally Germany in three weeks’ time.
In the FIA Junior WRC, the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert snatched the win by the narrowest of margins, finishing just 0.5 seconds ahead of the Finn Henri Haapamäki. The Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby took the final podium place.
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “We let our drivers decide on their own strategy for this weekend. They showed their ability to drive very fast on these roads, which are regarded as something of a benchmark in the World Championship. Both Kris and Mads showed that they were capable of being among the frontrunners in Finland with the DS 3 WRC. The work done by the entire team has clearly paid dividends. Kris’ mistake does not call this approach into question. Both drivers will be able to decide upon their own tactics in Germany and in Australia. Another podium finish is also further proof that the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is making progress and it gives us confidence for the rest of the season.”
Mads Østberg: “It’s been an excellent weekend for us. Although we lost a bit of time at the start, we were able to find our rhythm pretty quickly. We showed that we could be competitive and set some good times throughout the rally. I’m very happy to finish on the podium. The feeling was particularly good in the DS 3 WRC. It’s incredibly enjoyable to drive such a fast and responsive car on these super-quick roads. All I had to do was listen to the pace notes and drive fast. It was really great fun. And that’s also why I’m a rally driver. I love my job!”
Kris Meeke: “In terms of competitiveness, we showed that we have progressed compared with where we were last season here. The changes to the DS 3 WRC have been very positive and we were able to get very close to the leaders. It’s always frustrating when you don’t come away with a result, but the conditions were particularly difficult this weekend. It was good to rejoin this morning and score a point in the Power Stage. At the end of the day, there are lot of positive points and one small negative…”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “Given the conditions we encountered throughout the weekend, I decided not to take any risks. On some stages, our pace notes weren’t always perfect. I therefore preferred to take it easier and try to get the balance right, because this was the first time I have driven the DS 3 WRC on these roads. On the last test, I upped my pace by about 20% and it went pretty well. The stages are difficult, but really beautiful. It’s really enjoyable to race here!”
Stéphane Lefebvre: “I had been hoping for a top-five finish ahead of this weekend in Finland. So to finish on the podium is especially pleasing. We are now going to concentrate on preparing for Rallye Deutschland, where I’ll be driving the DS 3 WRC for the first time competitively. I hope I can adapt to it quickly.”