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Mar 08, 2014 - 05:27 PM
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Mads Ostberg Grabs Second In Mexico
Posted by: newsla on Mar 08, 2014 - 05:26 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Mads Ostberg Grabs Second In Mexico


Expectations were high in the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team camp ahead of today’s leg as the team returned to gravel stages for the first time this season.

 

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As Thursday evening’s brief introduction was contested on tarmac, it wasn’t until the morning loop in the Sierra de Guanajuato that the crews were finally able to get their first taste of competitive action on the most commonly used surface in the WRC. Very quickly, Mads Østberg was on the pace of the leaders. In fact, the Norwegian grabbed first place in the overall standings after the 44 kilometre-long El Chocolate stage (SS3).

He remained the rally leader until the end of SS6, before then losing a few seconds in the afternoon. Mads nonetheless returned to León in second overall, which bodes well for the rest of the rally.

For Kris Meeke, this first leg was above all else the chance to learn about the specific features of the Mexican event. Initially cautious, the Northern Irishman found the right level of pace and managed to move into fourth position without taking any risks.

On Las Minas (SS8), however, he broke part of the suspension on his car after hitting a rock. Like Kris, two other WRC drivers were unable to complete this first leg.

Saturday’s leg features seven stages. Crews will set off at 8.30am from León, covering a total of 323 kilometres, 170 of which will be timed sections. After SS18, the competitors will drive their cars into parc ferme at 7.48pm.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

Mads Østberg: “To be honest, I’m really pleased with the start I’ve made to this rally. The first loop went particularly well. We tried to adapt the set-up for the changing road conditions in the afternoon. It didn’t really work, but you have to bear in mind that this is our first gravel rally with the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. We still need more experience. But overall, it’s been a very encouraging start which augurs well for the rest of the rally!”

Kris Meeke: “My strategy was pretty much the same as in Sweden. I drove at my own pace without worrying too much about the times the other drivers were setting. On some stages, I was fairly comfortable although there was a lot of dust. The roads were also very slippery. On SS8, we hit a rock on a bend. The suspension arm broke. We tried to continue but we decided it was better to stop so that we could rejoin tomorrow in better shape.”

Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “Mads made an excellent start to the day. He feels comfortable in the Citroën DS3 WRC and these are the sorts of conditions in which he is very competitive. He lost some time in the second loop though a lack of experience with the car. But the miles covered will be add to his experience as he learns more and more. As regards Kris, he should be able to rejoin tomorrow under Rally 2 rules. It’s important that he makes the most of each stage to keep learning about this rally.”

HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED

SS1 – Monster Street Stage Guanajuato (1.01km) – After a spectacular ceremonial start in the heart of the city of Guanajuato, the event kicked off with a short tarmac stage. Sébastien Ogier set the fastest time, with Kris Meeke finishing fourth and Mads Østberg seventh.

SS2 – Los Mexicanos 1 (9.88km) – After a night spent in León, the crews headed for the Sierras. This first stage was a long hill climb through the dust. On this demanding exercise, Ogier finished ahead of Østberg. Kris Meeke finished in sixth place.

SS3 – El Chocolate 1 (44.03km) – The longest stage of the day provided Mads Østberg with the chance to shine. The Norwegian set the fastest time and grabbed the overall lead. Kris Meeke also moved up the standings with the third fastest time. Andreas Mikkelsen retired.

SS4 – Las Minas 1 (15.59km) – Mads Østberg extended his lead with another fastest time on the televised stage. Kris Meeke set the fifth fastest time.

SS5 – Parque Gto Bicentenario 1 (2.60km) – Sébastien Ogier won the stage to close the gap to Mads Østberg. Kris Meeke grabbed the fourth fastest time ahead of the midday service.

SS6 – Los Mexicanos 2 (9.88km) – 2.1 seconds off the lead time, Mads Østberg saw Sébastien Ogier cut his lead again as Kris Meeke consolidated his fifth position.

SS7 – El Chocolate 2 (44.03km) – The second pass on El Chocolate proved to be more difficult for Mads Østberg. The Norwegian lost the overall lead to Sébastien Ogier. Kris Meeke produced a superb performance to grab the second fastest time. He moved up to fifth overall.

SS8 – Las Minas 2 (15.59km) – Mads Østberg fought to stay with the leader. 3.9 seconds adrift of the fastest time, he held onto second place. Kris Meeke stopped before the end of the stage, after damaged a suspension arm. Mikko Hirvonen suffered an electrical problem.

SS9 – Parque Gto Bicentenario 2 (2.60km) – Mads Østberg claimed the fifth fastest time to remain second overall. Jari-Matti Latvala was the fastest on this short stage.

SS10 and SS11 – Super Special 1 and 2 (2.21km) – Two runs on the super special stage to round off the day’s action: the fastest times were claimed by Sébastien Ogier and Mads Østberg respectively, the two quickest drivers from the early stages of this rally. Robert Kubica went off.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 1

1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:46:25.3
2. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +26.1
3. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +42.5
4. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:28.7
5. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:30.2
6. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:31.1
7. Benito Guerra / Borja Rozada (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:06.0
8. Chris Atkinson / Stéphane Prévot (Hyundai i20 WRC) +6:32.8
9. Yuriy Protasov / Pavlo Cherepin (Ford Fiesta R5) +7:39.1
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta RRC) +12:00.7

FASTEST TIMES

Sébastien Ogier, 7 – Mads Østberg, 3 and Jari-Matti Latvala, 1

LEADERS

SS1 and SS2, SS7 to 11: Sébastien Ogier

SS3 to SS6: Mads Østberg



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