THE C3 WRC EDGES ONTO PODIUM WITH OGIER-INGRASSIA
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia produced impressive performances on both runs on Castagniccia (47.18km), the longest stage of the weekend, to move their C3 WRC into third overall this evening, whilst Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm ended the day in seventh place as their understanding of the French car improved as they completed more stages.
Contested in Cap Corse, the Désert des Agriates and Castagniccia, three of the most emblematic regions of the centre and north of Corsica, day two featured a wide variety of road profiles and therefore of difficulties. The highlight nonetheless being Castagniccia, its new route, length (47.18km) and narrower, twistier roads than those tackled thus far making it the day’s most daunting stage.
Determined to fight all the way despite their set-up still not being totally right, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia once again showed their mettle on the first pass and their first ever run on what had been expected to be the rally's decisive stage. The French six-time world champions used all of their talent to grab the third fastest time, just 1.4s off the pace, to take them into fifth overall. They then gained another place in the afternoon when one of their rivals picked up a puncture (SS11), before producing another blistering performance on the repeat of Castagniccia. Their second fastest time swept them into third place by 5.1s, despite an engine issue towards the end of the stage.
After a difficult start to the rally yesterday, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm also tried to optimise the handling of the C3 WRC throughout the day, looking ahead to the rest of the season. A fourth fastest time in the afternoon, just 2.9s off the stage-winning time (SS11), confirmed their approach proved effective and they made it to service this evening in seventh position.
Tomorrow’s short final leg will see the competitors head for Calvi, for two new stages over a competitive distance of fifty-two kilometres. A thrilling battle in prospect…
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“We knew that today was going to be the biggest challenge this weekend, and Sébastien and Julien once again showed all their experience and strength of character, managing to make it count on the toughest stage of the day and end the leg on the podium. It was a superb performance from them, because although we have made some progress on the set-up, obviously it still isn't enough. Esapekka and Janne don't have their experience in managing this kind of situation but they stuck at it and did some in-competition testing and work on the set-up of their C3 WRC and that will certainly be useful for future events.”
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“It’s a shame that we lost a lot of engine power about ten kilometres from the end of the last test, because otherwise I think we would have claimed our first stage win this weekend. Fortunately, it only lasted for two or three kilometres and then normal power came back. I'm pleased to be back in the top three. I hope that the slightly better feeling we had this afternoon will be confirmed tomorrow and we can keep improving. Because it looks like we’re going to have to fight right to the end if we want to hold onto third place. We have been losing most time on the wider, circuit-like roads but tomorrow’s stages are less like that, so I hope that they are more suited to us.”
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Although we’re still not where we had hoped to be, the main thing is that we improved today. Our rhythm was better. Seb also set some good times, so that would suggest that we are moving in the right direction. We’re going to give it our all to finish the rally on a high tomorrow.”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
- Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:56:50.0
- Evans / Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 4.5
- Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +44.8
- Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +49.9
- Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:32.1
- Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:54.5
- Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:59.3
- Loeb / Elena (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:21.4
- Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:55.9
- Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +6:35.4
media.citroenracing.comPhoto credit: @World
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