THOUSANDS OF FANS FLOCK TO FAFE
Once again hampered by their role as road-sweepers for the rest of the field, Mads Østberg – Torstein Eriksen and Craig Breen – Scott Martin used today's final leg to work on their C3 WRC's set-up options in low-grip conditions, whilst nonetheless securing the sixth and seventh place points for Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT.
Although plenty of spectators had turned up for the previous legs, thousands and thousands of highly-enthusiastic Portuguese fans lined the roads today to see the final day of racing. They came especially hoping to see the WRCs tackle the famous Fafe jump, over of rally's iconic sights, not once but twice! A natural, slightly angled springboard that tests not only the courage and skills of the drivers but also the ability of the cars to absorb the huge forces involved.
Once again hampered by running first and second on the road, Mads Østberg and Craig Breen used this final leg to keep working on the C3 WRC in low-grip conditions, whilst ensuring they also secured sixth and seventh positions overall respectively.
The starting order was revised for the Power Stage, with Mads Østberg running eighth on the road for the final test. He took advantage of this improved position to show that the French WRC had lost none of its speed, setting a time just 4.8s off the pace (over 11.18km) despite the fact that very little was at stake for him. The Norwegian's performance showed that he is becoming increasingly comfortable in the car and is ready to up his pace again at the next round in Sardinia.
WHAT THEY SAID
"Our puncture on Friday afternoon, when we were running third, meant we had to open the road on the next two days and from that point on, it was difficult to hope for a better outcome. But I'm now looking forward to Sardinia to turn the good feeling we had this weekend into a significantly better result."
"This first rally on gravel was informative for us because we learned a lot about the C3 WRC. Although we struggled a bit to find the right set-up on Friday morning, the team quickly worked it out and the car worked very well in the afternoon for the second loop. It's just that we then had a tough time of it due to our road position. If you don't have as good a first day as you were hoping for, then your whole rally ends up being affected, but I'm pleased to see that the speed was there whenever we pushed and we had the right conditions."
FINAL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS
- Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 3:49:46.6
- Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 40.0
- Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 47.3
- Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 54.7
- Sordo / Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:00.9
- Østberg/ Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC) + 3:33.5
- Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) + 5:23:0
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
- Thierry Neuville – 119 points
- Sébastien Ogier – 100 points
- Ott Tänak – 72 points
- Dani Sordo – 58 points
- Esapekka Lappi – 57 points
- Andreas Mikkelsen – 54 points
- Elfyn Evans – 45 points
- Kris Meeke – 43 points
- Jari-Matti Latvala – 31 points
- Craig Breen – 26 points
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
- Hyundai WRT – 175 points
- M-Sport Ford WRT – 162 points
- Toyota Gazoo Racing – 140 points
- Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 111 points