Third overall ahead of tomorrow’s short final leg of Rally de Portugal, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson will be aiming to secure another podium finish with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
The first day finished very late for the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Having arrived back at service after midnight with a damaged roll cage, the Citroën DS3 WRC of Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle was not allowed to rejoin under Rally 2 rules.
Eleventh on the road, Mads Østberg produced a series of top-four performances on the day’s stages. Consistent throughout, he profited from Ott Tanak’s off on SS10 to grab third place in the overall standings. By opting for a tyre strategy that enables him to fit soft tyres on tomorrow’s stages, the Norwegian currently holds a podium spot and is very much looking forward to the last three tests.
Taking advantage of the work done on the set-up of his car since the start of the rally, Khalid Al Qassimi moved up the standings. Despite the fact that conditions remained difficult, the Abu Dhabi ended the day fourteenth overall.
Mads Østberg: “It was a fairly similar day to yesterday, really. We keep making progress. This afternoon, we chose to fit hard tyres. It wasn’t the most effective option but we hope it will pay dividends in the rest of the rally. We have kept a set of soft tyres for tomorrow. The aim is to finish on the podium and score a few bonus points in the Power Stage.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “Apart from on the long stage, conditions were much better today. I tried to adapt my driving style. It worked out in some sections. We worked on the set-up again to try and improve the handling and balance of the car. The second loop went much better than the first. We’ll try to keep driving without taking any risks.”
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Mads set some good times again today. We asked him to maintain a bit of a safety margin, to make sure of his third position. He therefore drove with hard tyres this afternoon to keep the soft tyres for tomorrow. If he manages to do well in the Power Stage, he could end up with the same points as if he’d finished second.”