Breen 5th & Meek 8th on Rally Finland for Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT
Although the stages covered relatively few miles, the final leg of Rally Finland held the attention of the fans until the closing moments. Two of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s C3 WRCs finished in the points, as Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle finished fifth and eighth respectively.
With two passes on Lempää (6.80km) and Oittila (10.12km), the third and final day of Rally Finland only made up 10% of the total competitive distance.
After getting his bearings on Lempää, Craig Breen was more aggressive on Oittila. Like many other drivers, however, he was caught out by the low-grip conditions and lost time after overshooting a junction. From that point onwards, the Irishman opted to secure fifth place.
Somewhat isolated in the overall standings between Tänak and Sordo, Kris Meeke also adopted a defensive approach to hold onto his eighth position. Suffering from a lack of confidence since the start of the rally, he took no risks to make sure he reached the end.
The Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT drivers were therefore not looking to contest the bonus points available for the top five in the Power Stage.
Craig Breen went on to take fifth place overall – his fifth of the season – taking him up to seventh in the Drivers’ World Championship. Having been stuck on the same points since he won Rally Mexico back in March, Kris Meeke’s championship tally increased again thanks to his eighth position. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi finished sixteenth.
Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “The team didn’t have much to gain today and so the drivers safeguarded their positions. Like Poland, we managed to get all three cars to the end and have gathered a lot of useful information. Depending on the conditions, the C3 WRC is more or less competitive but we know what areas we need to work on. We look forward now to returning to tarmac in Germany, at what is a special rally for Citroën Racing.”
Craig Breen: “It wasn’t our best day in terms of pure performance. I knew that I couldn’t make up the ground on the leaders in normal racing conditions so I just focused on containing Thierry Neuville. For sure, it’s a good run of fifth places but I’d like to get back onto the podium before the end of the season!”
Kris Meeke: “Although there weren’t many miles to cover, it was still a proper leg with some typically fast Finnish stages. As I had nothing to gain by taking risks and was low on confidence, I played it safely to bring the car home.”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “Like yesterday, I was first on the road and that made my job a little more difficult. The roads were very slippery this morning and it wasn’t easy to read the level of grip. So I drove without any real feeling, but there wasn’t much else I could do.”
UNOFFICIAL FINAL STANDINGS
Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:30:02.9
Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +36.0
Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.3
Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:01.5
Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:22.6
Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:33.1
Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:53.6
Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) +3:12.6
Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:11.5
Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4:21.2
Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) +15:05.3
DRIVERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Sébastien Ogier – 160 points
Thierry Neuville – 160 points
Ott Tänak – 119 points
Jari-Matti Latvala – 114 points
Dani Sordo – 84 points
Elfyn Evans – 79 points
CRAIG BREEN – 53 points
Hayden Paddon – 51 points
Juho Hänninen – 46 points
Esapekka Lappi – 45 points
KRIS MEEKE – 31 points
Teemu Suninen – 25 points
STEPHANE LEFEBVRE – 22 points
ANDREAS MIKKELSEN – 21 points
Mads Østberg – 19 points
MANUFACTURERS’ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
M-Sport WRT – 285 points
Hyundai Motorsport – 251 points
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – 196 points
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT – 139 points