C3 WRCs TEST SET-UP OPTIONS IN COMPETITIVE CONDITIONS
With their position in the running order preventing them from expressing their full potential, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm focused mainly on working for future events, and their application was rewarded as they climbed to seventh overall. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia made another uncharacteristic error this morning, but still managed to gather information that will undoubtedly be useful for the forthcoming rounds.
The weekend’s longest leg, with a competitive distance of 142.42km and including two runs on the long Monti di Ala’ (28.21km) and Monte Lerno (28.03km) stages, day two seemed to possess all the ingredients to provide yet more drama.
Unfortunately, Citroën Total World Rally Team ended up centre stage for all the wrong reasons. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who had rejoined under Rally 2 rules following their retirement yesterday, made a mistake on the second stage of the day. As they exited a corner, the Frenchmen hit a rock that wasn't in their notes, damaging the rear left-hand suspension of their C3 WRC. They nonetheless managed to perform some makeshift repairs to get the car back to the mid-leg service, and once it had been fully repaired by the Reds’ technical team, they then effectively ran some in-competition testing for future outings. A test session that nonetheless saw them grab the second fastest time on SS13.
Fourth in the running order, which became third on the second stage of the day, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm were not expecting to have the kind of conditions that would let them express their full potential, given the extent to which the Sardinian roads clean. The fact they went with a less than ideal set-up in terms of tyre choice for the opening loop certainly didn't help matters. However, the Finns – in addition to picking up more experience for future events – more or less managed to keep pace with the driver currently lying third in the championship, even though he was behind them in the running order. They even concluded the day on a positive note, claiming a fourth fastest time (7.4s off the pace over the 28.03km-long SS15) and moving up to seventh overall after one of their rivals suffered a puncture.
Tomorrow’s very short (41.90km, with four stages) final leg concludes with the Sassari – Argentiera Power Stage (6.89km), set against the magnificent backdrop of the Mediterranean. Citroën Total WRT’s crews will have their work cut out to pick up any bonus points on this stage, as they will be among the early runners on these sandy gravel roads.
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal
“Esapekka and Janne didn't have sufficiently favourable racing conditions today to allow them to express themselves fully and yet, at times, they showed really good pace in the C3 WRC, whilst also adopting a smart approach. Obviously it’s a shame that Sébastien and Julien made a mistake but it didn't prevent us from running some tests on set-up options that we had planned after they dropped out of contention to score heavily at this round.”
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Our mistake this morning was disappointing, because it then prevented us from really testing ourselves against our rivals on the second loop. We tried to do what we could, but without having driven the stages at full speed on the first run, it was clearly almost impossible to set fast times in the afternoon. SS13 is the only stage where I tried, because we had completed it in normal conditions on the first loop, and the time was okay. Obviously, you can count on me to try and grab some points in the Power Stage, even though it looks like it will be mission impossible. As the stage is rough, perhaps some crews won't be flat out, but we’ll be pushing as hard as we can.”
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Apart from one stage where we lost a bit of ground, we more or less managed to keep pace with Neuville today, who was behind us in the running order, so that’s pretty pleasing. I was comfortable in the C3 WRC but we couldn't hope to do much more with our road position.”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
- Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:04:10.3
- Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) +25.9
- Suninen / Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +42.9
- Evans / Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:25.4
- Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:33.3
- Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:32.4
- Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +2:58.3
- Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:53.3
- Hänninen / Tuominen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +7:23.2
44. Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:19:20.6
media.citroenracing.comPhoto credit: @World
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