OPENING MUD FEST FOR THE CITROËN C3 WRCS
Contested in Clocaenog forest, the shakedown for Wales Rally GB provided the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT crews with the chance to get their bearings on the muddy gravel roads.
- The 3.32km-long stage used for the shakedown was largely representative of the roads and conditions expected on this year's Wales Rally GB.
- Once a few cars had completed the stage, the racing line became covered with a layer of greasy mud and it became increasingly difficult to improve the times set.
- Craig Breen and Scott Martin completed four run at the start of the morning. They set the ninth fastest time with a 2:01.6.
- After two runs, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle had to return to service in order to change the set-up of their Citroën C3 WRC. They went back out to complete their mandatory third run, before changing co-driver. BBC journalist Stuart Pollitt replaced Paul Nagle alongside Kris Meeke to experience the thrills and spills provided by the new generation World Rally Championship cars.
- On his return to the event, Khalid Al Qassimi completed five passes during the morning.
- The rally is due to get underway this evening. Following the ceremonial start, the crews will contest SS1 on the Tir Prince Raceway, near Conwy. The first car will start the stage at 7pm.
Craig Breen: "I had a very good feeling in the car on the first run. After that, the surface became really polished and slippery, and it was increasingly difficult to stay on the road. We tried some different things and I think we have a good set-up now, both for the first and the second passes on the stages. I feel ready. I know these roads pretty well and I just hope that the weather isn't going to be so bad. We need there to be some humidity, because the more cars complete the stages, the harder it is for those behind."
Kris Meeke: "I wasn't able to prepare this morning as I would have liked. Unfortunately, the set-up defined for the morning wasn't ideal for the road conditions and so I had to come back to service to make some changes. However, by the time we got back out to the stage, the road conditions had changed again and I couldn't improve my time. I'm just looking forward to the start now."
Khalid Al Qassimi: "This was all about me getting my bearings in the car in muddy conditions, because I hadn't driven on roads like these for a very long time. I tried different differential and accelerator mappings and we are going to work to see how I can improve. I'm expecting a tough rally, with very different conditions between the first and second pass."
1. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1:58.1
2. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:00.4
3. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:00.5
4. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:00.6
5. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:00.8
6. Paddon / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:00.9
7. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:01.5
8. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:01.5
9. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:01.6
9. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:01.6
… 12. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:02.8
… 26. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:09.1