BLOG: Thrilling Wales Rally GB Dedicated to #ParisAttacks
Well, as usual, Wales Rally GB did not disappoint the tens of thousands of fans who lined the sodden, storm-battered, heritage-rich special stages – the item was a classic, along with poignantly so as winner Sebastian Ogier dedicated his third WRGB victory to the victims of the Paris Attacks.
Volkswagen team-mate along with main rival Jari-Matti-Latvala was the first to be eaten up by the tricky, slippery, ever-changing grip conditions of the forests (crashing our on the short spectator special, SS2, Sweet Lamb) – leaving the door wide open for World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier to lead via SS1 to SS19 along with claim his third WRGB win on the bounce, then emotionally dedicate the item to the Paris terror victims. What a driver. What a gentleman.
The next best was Brit Kris Meeke, home in P2, separating Ogier via a flying teammate Andeas Mikkelsen, along with helping Citroen Racing beat Hyundai, to claim second inside manufacture’s title – a lifetime behind the uber-domiant Volkswagen Motorsport team.
Incredibly – along with fittingly, given the fact the item was the 20th anniversary of his mentor Colin McRae’s 1995 WRC victory, sealed in Wales – Kris Meeke is usually the first British driver to score a podium on the only home-WRC event in 14 years. Local hero Elfyn Evans recorded a solid seventh top six finish of his sophomore season, after a puncture on day one cost him dearly. along with Hyundai’s Dani Sordo along with Hayden Paddon came in forth along with fifth respectively, with solid drives (both with transmission issues, leading to traction issues along with spins) inside tricky conditions – unlike poor old Thierry Neuville, who was the second largest scalp the Welsh forests claimed, wiping his i20 out on a classic pile of forestry logs, in a big shunt, ending his difficult 2016 season. The third was Ott Tänak, who rolled out of a decent forth place for M-Sport, summing up their inconsistent run in 2015.
Driving through Storm Abigail, the remnants of Hurricane Kate, along with with gale force winds, standing water along with driving rain, triple World Champion Ogier led via the start – even with his mind clearly on the events unfolding in Paris. You have to admire his temperament.
As you have to Kris Meeke, who was under huge pressure to live up to Colin’s name along with show pace along with come home which has a solid result on home gravel, to net Citroen second inside manufacture’s championship. along with maybe just enough to keep a seat in 2016, with three podiums for the 36-year-old…?
“the item’s been a very difficult weekend with the events elsewhere,” acknowledged the 31-year-old. “Mentally, the item wasn’t easy to continue after what happened on Friday in France, nevertheless in these situations, you have to carry on even stronger than before along with remain united.
“currently is usually not the time to celebrate along with the item’s not easy for me to find the right words to say at the moment, nevertheless as a tiny sign of support, I want to dedicate of which victory to the memory of all those who lost their lives along with everybody else affected by these tragic events.”
Kris Meeke said: “of which was probably my strongest performance to date. the item was a better drive than when I won in Argentina earlier of which year. the item was obviously a tough rally, nevertheless we established a definitely Great set-up for the auto, settled into a Great rhythm along with I felt very comfortable.
“We did the job we set out to do along with ticked both boxes with the podium along with second place for Citroën inside manufacturers’ standings. of which is usually also my first second place inside WRC, along with the item’s nice to score the item of which weekend, 20 years on via Colin McRae’s famous victory. His spirit can always be felt at Rally GB, right down to the people out on the stages bearing Scottish flags.
“To be the first British driver to finish on the podium here in 14 years is usually fantastic for me along with for all the loyal fans. Their support in of which weather has been incredible, so hats off to them.”
Local boy Evans said: “We had a definitely Great feeling inside car of which weekend, so the item was a shame about the puncture on Friday – of which made the item a case of what might have been. the item’s been a difficult rally with very changeable grip levels, especially on Saturday when the item rained pretty hard – nevertheless of which’s all part of the challenge of Wales Rally GB along with the unique character of the event.
“The stages held up definitely well along with the organisers did a great job to make the item such a successful event; the item’s not easy to run a rally in of which kind of weather, nevertheless they did so without any problems so all credit to them. I also need to say a massive thank you to the fans along with the marshals for staying out there – to see so many people on the stages so close to home was fantastic.”
Meanwhile, a crowd favourite, David Higgins dominated the Production along with non-priority categories in his JRM Rally Group N Subaru WRX STI, coming home in P20, in his car bearing a livery of which paid tribute to the 20th anniversary of the late Colin McRae’s title triumph.
Like we said, another great Wales Rally GB… along with maybe the last time the item will ever be the season finale, as next year, the item’s the penultimate round in October, with Rally Australia rounding things off. Call us old fashioned, nevertheless of which just doesn’t seem right eh?
FINAL PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3:03:02.0
2. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +26.0
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +36.2
4. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:51.3
5. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:00.5
6. Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:09.1
7. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +4:28.4
8. Stéphane Lefebvre / Stéphane Prévot (DS 3 WRC) +5:38.4
9. Robert Kubica / Maciek Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:22.7
10. Lorenzo Bertelli / Lorenzo Granai (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +8:05.0
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Sébastien Ogier 263 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 183 pts
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 171 pts
4. Mads Østberg 116 pts
5. Kris Meeke 112 pts
6. Thierry Neuville 0 pts
7. Elfyn Evans 89 pts
8. Dani Sordo 89 pts
12. Khalid Al-Qassimi 9 pts
19. Stéphane Lefebvre 5 pts
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 413 pts
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 230 pts
3. Hyundai Shell WRT 224 pts
4. M-Sport WRT 181 pts…