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Citroen Corse15The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team reclaimed second place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship standings after both its cars finished in the top six at the Tour de Corse. Kris Meeke & Paul Nagle ended up fourth overall in Ajaccio, ahead of Mads Østberg & Jonas Andersson in sixth place. Competing in a third DS 3 WRC, Stéphane Lefebvre & Stéphane Prévot finished just outside the points.

Road conditions remained fairly demanding in the south of Corsica for the final day of the Tour de Corse. Between Porto-Vecchio and Ajaccio, each crew had to complete the final three timed stages – and almost 95 kilometres – without any service break. Only two tyre changing zones were organised before the start of SS7 and the Power Stage.

Despite being surprised by damp patches in some sections, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers concentrated on defending their positions with the aim of moving back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings.

Just 6.5 seconds ahead of Kevin Abbring as he set off on the final morning, Kris Meeke saw his rival go off the road on SS8. The Northern Irishman therefore finished just shy of a podium place in fourth.

Mads Østberg benefited from Kevin Abbring’s retirement, but was unable to hold off a charge from Hayden Paddon towards the end of the rally. The Norwegian therefore retained sixth place and scored important points, enabling the team to move back into second place in the manufacturers’ standings whilst also strengthening his hold on fourth position in the drivers’ championship.

Stéphane Lefebvre continued to learn about competing at this level on some of the most demanding tarmac roads in world rallying. The talented young Frenchman drove his DS 3 WRC with a mix of tyres for the first time, combining hard and soft Michelin Pilot Sport compounds. He reached the end of his first Tour de Corse in the WRC in eleventh position, less than 14 seconds outside of the top ten. Stéphane Lefebvre will be competing at the Rally RACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada in a DS 3 WRC as part of his 2015 programme and to allow him to acquire even more experience.

In the FIA Junior WRC, Quentin Gilbert now has an unassailable lead in the championship standings. Winner for the fourth time this season in his DS 3 R3-MAX, he therefore succeeds Stéphane Lefebvre as JWRC champion and will drive a DS 3 R5 in a WRC2 programme next season*.

* Subject to publication of the official results by the FIA.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton: “One of our objectives for this season is to finish second in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. Finishing with both DS 3 WRCs in the top six of the Tour de Corse means we are now back in second position in the standings. It is therefore a satisfactory result at the end of what proved to be a rather unusual event. We have two rallies left to consolidate our position. In Spain and in Wales, we have to be just as focused and committed to achieve our goal.”

Kris Meeke: “It was a difficult rally, with one-off conditions. I didn’t feel confident at the start, but the aim was above all to finish the rally without any problems. Even this morning, we weren’t expecting the roads to be so slippery in places. Fourth place is a solid result. I would have liked to be quicker, but the points scored – both by me and by Mads – were very important. At the end of the rally, we have reclaimed second place in the manufacturers’ standings.”

Mads Østberg: “The weather made the course especially difficult. I’ve never witnessed conditions like these at a rally. On the first day, we were mainly trying to get to the end of the stages and that worked out pretty well. When the roads dried out, we weren’t as quick and we lost a few places. Sixth position is still a good result for us, for both championships. It’s unusual to tackle such long stages and you need to manage the brakes and the tyres. We’re now going to focus on Rally Catalunya and its mixed-surface itinerary. I’m looking forward to getting back onto gravel after missing Rally Australia.”

Stéphane Lefebvre: “We learned a lot once again in the DS 3 WRC during this Tour de Corse. The conditions were terrible on the first two days. I didn‘t take any risks to get as many kilometres as possible under my belt. When the roads dried out, we were able to give everyone a glimpse of our speed. Given our limited experience, better weather gives us the chance to show we can be competitive. Unfortunately, we made a mistake on the Power Stage which cost us a place in the top ten.”

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