THE C3 WRC REMAINS SECOND AHEAD OF FINAL SPRINT
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had increased their advantage over the third-placed crew, winning one stage during the afternoon loop, when fog and rain led to them losing time on the final test, but they nonetheless held onto their second place. Despite a less than ideal position in the running order, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm made steady progress as they moved up into sixth overall.
Contested on wider, faster roads than on the opening leg, day two of Rally Chile revealed a new side to the local difficulties. With the roads offering increasing grip as more cars completed the stages, the running order proved to be a decisive factor.
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia once again made the most of the conditions. After a solid, consistent opening loop, the six-time world champions then upped their game in the afternoon, with a smart call on tyre choice (three hard Michelin tyres and two mediums compared with five hards for their rivals) and improved set-up with the team on the C3 WRC. A stage win and a third fastest time followed, enabling them to consolidate their second position, whilst relegating their closest rival from being 6.4s behind this morning to trailing by more than twelve seconds. Unfortunately, on the final stage of the day, fog and rain moved over the area just as they were about to set off. Their lead was therefore cut to 5.1s going into tomorrow’s final leg.
Running second and therefore forced to act as road sweepers for those further down the order, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm nonetheless saw their feeling in the C3 WRC improve as they racked up more miles in the car. Keeping out of trouble, they moved up into sixth position, having started the day tenth overall, with a controlled, intelligent performance on today’s leg. After closing to within just 10.3s of the crew ahead of them with a third fastest time on the day’s final test, they now have fifth place in their sights. The places gained today mean they will be fourth on the road tomorrow, a starting position that should provide them with better conditions to express themselves on roads that they describe as being the ones they are most looking forward to this weekend.
Tomorrow’s 58.38km-long (four stages) final leg will see the crews fight it out once again on fast, narrow roads, with plenty of blind crests.
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“We’re pleased to see Sébastien and Julien remain in second position this evening after another tough day, which they managed very well. The C3 WRC was better suited to them in the afternoon loop of stages, which suggests that our efforts continue to move things in the right direction, although we clearly still have some work to do. I'm also pleased to see Esapekka and Janne gradually get the feeling in the car again and set times that reflect more accurately their undeniable potential. As usual, we’ll keep fighting hard right to the end.”
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“I hoped for more this morning, but the second loop went better. This was mainly due to the substantial changes made during the mid-leg service, although the grip was also naturally better too. We were a bit unlucky on the final stage with the fog and rain, which cost us about ten seconds. Tomorrow’s stages look like being difficult as well, with the narrowest test of the weekend and lots of loose gravel on the Power Stage.”
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“I'm pleased that my confidence behind the wheel improved as we completed more kilometres, and with the adjustments made to the set-up of my C3 WRC. The afternoon loop went better than the morning, and I’m beginning to enjoy it a bit more. I hope we can keep it up tomorrow, without taking any unnecessary risks. Keep it clean and tidy, and remain consistent.”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
- Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:41:05.5
- Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +30.3
- Loeb / Elena (Hyundai i20 WRC) +35.4
- Evans / Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:06.3
- Suninen / Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:03.0
- Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +3:13.3
- Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:43.4
- Rovanperä / Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5) +6:33.2
- Østberg / Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +7:09.3
- Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 7:21.9
media.citroenracing.com Photo credit: @World
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