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Citroen Spain15Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle ended Rally Catalunya in fourth and fifth positions. The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team therefore strengthened its hold on second place in the World Championship before the final round of the season. Next up is the final event on the 2015 calendar: Wales Rally GB, which takes place on 12-15 November.

At the start of the final day of Rally Catalunya, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg’s aim was to hold onto their positions in the top six of the overall standings.

Both Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers initially held firm, despite coming under pressure from Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon early on in the morning. Kris Meeke then lost a few seconds with a spin on SS19, allowing Mads Østberg to retake fifth place from the Northern Irishman.

During the final leg, with no service breaks or tyre changes allowed, good race management was vital. By consistently finishing in the top six in the last four stages, Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg ensured the final standings remained unchanged.

The Power Stage saw Kris Meeke score an extra point for the drivers’ championship by grabbing the third fastest time. The rally leader Sébastien Ogier’s off meant all of the finishers moved up a place. Mads Østberg therefore finished fourth overall, one place ahead of Kris Meeke.

In the third car entered by the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Khalid Al Qassimi made it to Salou without any mistakes. He finished in 16th position on his final outing of the year in the DS 3 WRC.

Having rejoined under Rally 2 rules in order to get his first experience on tarmac at this year’s Rally Catalunya, Stéphane Lefebvre was able to continue learning at this level with the DS 3 WRC.

In their DS 3 R3-MAXs, Quentin Gilbert secured a fifth win in the FIA Junior WRC ahead of Terry Folb and Simone Tempestini. Already certain to end the season as FIA Junior WRC champion*, Quentin Gilbert will now go up against Simone Tempestini for the FIA’s WRC3 title at the forthcoming Wales Rally GB.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “This event was very important at this stage of the season. Both our drivers managed their race perfectly by keeping in mind how vital it was to score points for the manufacturers’ championship. The rally wasn‘t easy, because the pace was very high, but we have strengthened our hold on second place in the championship with both DS 3 WRCs finishing in the top five. We’ll now turn our attention to Wales Rally GB, with its very special surface, where we will aim to finish the job!”

Mads Østberg: “We made a very good start on Friday. We were one of the quickest crews on gravel, despite our road position. Unfortunately a puncture on the longest stage meant we lost a lot of time.
I think we were also very competitive on tarmac. Our performances during today’s final leg showed that. I am now really looking forward to the start of Wales Rally GB.”

Kris Meeke: “It was a fairly strange weekend. With no experience on the gravel stages, I wasn’t really on the pace on Friday and we lost time on some of our rivals. On tarmac, with different tyres to last year, I didn’t have a very good feeling in the car. The result is still positive for the team. It‘s now up to us to finish the season on a high at the final rally in Wales.”

Khalid Al Qassimi:“We found the right balance to be able to drive at a steady pace. Although I would have liked to push more, we had to remain reasonably cautious to keep out of trouble. We lost a lot of time due to the handbrake problem on day one, but we managed to repair it and keep going. The team worked really hard.”

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