CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR MIKKELSEN!
Sébastien Ogier made a mistake with the finish in sight gifting victory to his Norwegian team-mate, Andreas Mikkelsen. Thanks to the fourth and fifth places of Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT remains in second position in the manufacturers’ title chase.
A bolt from the blue!
Andreas Mikkelsen, a member of what could be called the Volkswagen B team, looked like he had clinched a very good second place on Sunday afternoon and the Norwegian had every reason to feel satisfied after fending off Jari-Matti Latvala, the Finn in the works team. The topmost step of the podium seemed reserved, as has often been the case, for the team leader and benchmark, Sébastien Ogier. With a 50-second lead all the three-time world champion had to do was to finish the Power Stage. But fate had other ideas! With four kilometres to go to the chequered flag the French went off, hit the guardrail and tore off a wheel! And Mikkelsen inherited victory, his first in the WRC. It was a well-deserved reward after 12 top-3 finishes since 2013. He became the 75th driver to win a round of the world rally championship since its creation in 1973.
A good result
Even though Dany Sordo, who has always been very quick on his native roads in front of his home crowd, gave Hyundai third place, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team held on to second in the manufacturers’ championship in front of its Korean rival thanks to a better overall result with one rally left to run. The French manufacturer had another reason to be satisfied as Quentin Gilbert won in WRC3 after wrapping up the Junior World Championship title in Corsica in the colours of Citroën Racing and Total.
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal):
“This event was very important at this stage of the season. Both our drivers managed their race perfectly by keeping in mind how vital it was to score points for the manufacturers’ championship. The rally wasn‘t easy, because the pace was very high, but we have strengthened our hold on second place in the championship with both DS 3 WRCs finishing in the top five. We’ll now turn our attention to Wales Rally GB, with its very special surface, where we will aim to finish the job!”
Next round: Wales Rally GB (12 – 15 November)