Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson matched the performance of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle at Monte-Carlo to claim the third podium spot.
There were still some 142 kilometres of timed stages to run on today’s leg, which equates to 44% of the total distance. Despite the conditions remaining difficult, with a lot of slush and water, Mads Østberg managed to up his pace.
Increasingly comfortable in his Citroën DS3 WRC, the Norwegian closed the gap to his fellow countryman Andreas Mikkelsen in second. Pushing hard, he claimed his first stage win with Citroën on Torntorp 2. He repeated the feat on the Power Stage to collect the three bonus points. He secured his first podium finish in the DS3 WRC, ending the rally just 5.9 seconds shy of second spot.
Once again one of the first on the road today, Khalid Al Qassimi had to deal with especially slippery conditions. Careful to avoid making any mistakes, he finished the event in sixteenth place.
Mads Østberg: “We have made a lot of progress since Friday. I’m pleased to finish on the podium in Sweden for the fourth year running! The three points from the Power Stage are a nice bonus. I feel more and more confident in the car, which is promising for the next few events. We have learned a lot and now I can’t wait to tackle the gravel rallies.”
Kris Meeke: “I think I can be pleased with this first rally on snow. The only minor mistake we made proved very costly. If there had been spectators around, we would probably have only lost fifteen seconds or so. But we had to get the car out ourselves. However, the rest of the weekend went very well. We have learned a lot. The main thing for me is that we managed to get close to the leading guys. And finishing in the points is encouraging for the rest of the season.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “I tried to be more aggressive today. Things went well from the second stage onwards. We had a few hairy moments but we made good progress. On the Power Stage, I preferred to ease off a little and not make a mistake, so I could be sure of reaching the end without any problems.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Our crews met the targets that we set them. Mads has secured his first podium finish with Citroën on what is more or less his home event. More than the result itself, it’s the way that he has tackled the rally that has impressed us the most. He changed his driving style and took a step closer to getting the best out of Citroën DS3 WRC. He did a lot of work with the team and his times throughout the rally are very encouraging. Kris had an intelligent race. He completed all the stages and I don’t think we can hold his minor mistake against him. At the end of the day, he has produced a better performance that many a driver at their first Rally Sweden. We’re very pleased with his performance levels and the points he has picked up for Citroën. Khalid wanted to drive on snow. The conditions weren’t kind to him, but he enjoyed himself.”
Drivers’ world championship standings
1. Jari-Matti Latvala 40 points
2. Sébastien Ogier 35 points
3. Mads Østberg 30 points
4. Andreas Mikkelsen 24 points
5. Bryan Bouffier 18 points
6. Kris Meeke 17 points
7. Mikko Hirvonen 13 points
8. Ott Tanak 10 points
9. Elfyn Evans 8 points
10. Henning Solberg 6 points
11. Jaroslav Melicharek and Pontus Tidemand 4 points
13. Matteo Gamba and Craig Breen 2 points
15. Yuriy Protasov 1 point
Manufacturers’ world championship standings
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 72 points
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 56 points
3. Volkswagen Motorsport II 26 points
4. M-Sport World Rally Team 22 points
5. Hyundai Shell World Rally Team 8 points
6. RK M-Sport World Rally Team 4 points