THE C3 WRC PUSHES FOR PODIUM SPOT WITH OGIER-INGRASSIA
Confused when the rally route seemed to differ from the instructions of the roadbook, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia mainly lost a lot of time when they broke the power steering on their C3 WRC. However, they then showed great persistence and skill to fight their way back to within striking distance of the podium places, just 2.8s adrift in fourth place.
Day two, the longest leg of the weekend (146.52km), was contested on faster roads than on day one, which also dried out as the day unfolded. But the stages nonetheless provided plenty of incidents.
Fifth fastest on the day’s opening stage (SS9) between Tanti and Mataderos (13.92km), Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia fell back to third place, but still had high hopes of securing a podium finish. The Citroën Total World Rally Team crew unfortunately then suffered a fairly unusual incident: surprised by a gate left open on SS11, whereas the roadbook indicated that it was to be passed on the left, the French pair hesitated to take the shorter route through the open gate, before ultimately taking the route stipulated in the roadbook. The pair lost time with this brief hesitation, however to add insult to injury, they ended up clipping the gate, which immediately broke the C3 WRC’s power steering. With another stage to complete before service, Sébastien and Julien dropped down to sixth position, 21.8s adrift of the podium.
Citroën Racing’s mechanics then pulled off a minor feat in managing to repair the car in just forty minutes. The six-time world champions repaid the hard work of the team after service: with two stage wins and a third fastest time in the afternoon loop, they showed incredible spirit and determination to fight back up to fourth overall, just 2.8s off the podium. Proof, if any were needed, that they will keep pushing right until the end of the rally!
Tomorrow’s 53.16 km-long final leg will see the crews climb to just over 2,000 metres above sea level, for the slow and technically difficult stages of El Condor and Giulio Cesare, and the huge crowds that always gather there.
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
"It wasn't an easy day for Sébastien and Julien. They lost a lot of time this morning when the power steering broke, after they were confused by the gate left open, which should have been closed. We are therefore expecting the rally organisers to take the appropriate decisions for those crews that didn't follow the route indicated in the roadbook. With the car fully repaired for the afternoon, they certainly adopted an exemplary attitude and showed real pace, clearly managing to get themselves back into the fight for the podium places. The final leg therefore looks set to be action-packed again, and I think it’s safe to say they'll fight right to the end.”
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“We had an up and down day. After dropping a lot of time this morning, I had very little to lose this afternoon, so I pushed hard with the C3 WRC. There was also a bit more grip and that appeared to help us. I'm expecting to move up a position or two this evening, after the rally organisers look at what happened at the gate this morning. Tomorrow, the goal will be to keep out of trouble on these rough roads and score as many points as possible.”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
- Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:37.23.6
- Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 45.7
- Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 1:03.2
- Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:06.0
- Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:12.0
- Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:28.3
- Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:48.4
- Ostberg / Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +12:04.5
media.citroenracing.com Photo credit: @World
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