CITROËN DRIVERS FEELING CONFIDENT AFTER SHAKEDOWN
The Rally de Portugal shakedown was held this morning close to Baltar, around fifty kilometres from Porto. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT's best performers, setting the fourth fastest time.
- Made up of a succession of crossroads, a wide section and finishing on the large corners of a gravel circuit, the Rally de Portugal shakedown was varied… without particularly reflecting the characteristics of the event itself.
- After completing their three mandatory runs, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle headed back to the Matosinhos service park to alter the set-up of their C3 WRC. They headed out for another two runs and finished with the fourth fastest time, 3/10ths off the lead pace.
- Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau completed two series of two passes on the 4.6km-long stage. On their final run, they were on course to set a top-ten time when they stalled on a hairpin. In the end, the French crew set the twelfth fastest time.
- Craig Breen and Scott Martin completed five passes. On their third attempt, they set the thirteenth fastest time, a tenth of a second behind their team-mates.
- On their first competitive outing in the C3 WRC, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson also completed five runs. They progressed on each pass, ending up with the sixteenth fastest time.
- Later on this afternoon, the crews will drive onto the Guimarães podium for the ceremonial start of the rally. The first stage will be contested this evening on the Lousada rallycross circuit from 7.03pm (GMT+1). The cars will then enter parc ferme for the night.
Kris Meeke: "The shakedown stage was pretty artificial, especially the final section, which was held on what looked like an old rallycross track. We improved the set-up with a few minor changes, but you have to bear in mind that this stage doesn't look anything like what we'll be tackling over the next few days. The main thing was to finish the morning in a positive, confident frame of mind. And that's exactly what we did!"
Stéphane Lefebvre: "The shakedown went very well for us. It's nice to back in Portugal, competing on roads that we're already familiar with. I feel confident in my C3 WRC and I really enjoyed driving it this morning. I feel that there is a real understanding, a bond forming between the car, Gabin and myself. We have the potential to have a good rally; I hope to make the most of our road position and our experience from last year."
Craig Breen: "It was a pretty positive morning, although I would've liked to have been a little bit quicker. But you have to keep things in perspective, given the very unusual nature of this shakedown! We made quite a few changes to the set-up midway through the morning and some of the modifications were beneficial. Now I just can’t wait to get started!"
Khalid Al Qassimi: "It's all new for me! This morning, I initially focused on the new surroundings: the buttons, the procedures, all these little things that have to become reflexes. We then continued with the work we started last week during testing in Sardinia. We tried a few different set-up options to try and make the car easier to drive."
1. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 3:06.9
2. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:07.0
3. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:07.1
4. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) 3:07.2
5. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:07.5
12. Lefebvre / Moreau (Citroën C3 WRC) 3:09.4
13. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) 3:09.5
16. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) 3:16.3