KRIS MEEKE AMONG THE LEADERS ON THE SHAKEDOWN
Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle kicked off their challenge at Rally de España by setting the second fastest time in this morning's shakedown in their Citroën C3 WRC. Although they were further down in the standings, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson also took plenty of positives from this final test session.
- The season's only mixed-surface event, RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España also featured a shakedown on both gravel and tarmac. The 2.97km-long stage was held right next to the PortAventura service park.
- On their second run, Kris Meeke set a time that would remain unbeaten for much of the morning, at 2:05.5. Since the shakedown is not especially representative of the rest of the rally, they decided to stick to the three mandatory runs.
- After trying various set-up options, Stéphane Lefebvre completed a fourth run to confirm his approach. As the organisers had just sprayed the stage with water before he set off, he was unable to improve but was positive about his progress.
- In the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT's third C3 WRC, Khalid Al Qassimi also completed four runs, consistently improving his times.
- The day is due to end with the ceremonial start, held at 8pm in the streets of Salou. Friday's opening leg will be held on gravel, with six stages covering a competitive distance of 116km.
Kris Meeke: “It was a good morning. We all knew that the shakedown was neither representative nor very interesting in terms of driving. But I felt comfortable behind the wheel and my C3 WRC worked perfectly. You can see that the times are pretty close but it's positive to be among the leaders. We are now going to prepare for the opening stages, which will provide us with a much tougher challenge."
Stéphane Lefebvre: "Our fourth run should have enabled us to confirm the changes we had made to the set-up, but we were caught out by the wet roads, which completely changed the grip conditions. Looking at the data, however, we can nonetheless be sure that we are heading in the right direction. I feel comfortable in the car. I didn't push too much this morning but I feel confident before the start."
Khalid Al Qassimi: "I did a day of testing on Monday and I used to the set-up that had given me the most confidence. I felt good in the car and I tested various differential and accelerator mappings. On my final run, we had the best overall configuration so that was positive. Compared with Finland, I feel that the car has improved a lot and I think we are moving in the right direction."
1. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 02:05.2
2. Meeke / Nagle (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:05.5
3. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:05.9
4. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:06.3
= Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 2:06.3
6. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) 02:06.9
7. Østberg / Eriksen (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:07.0
8. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) 02:07.1
9. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:07.3
10. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:07.6
11. Lefebvre / Moreau (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:08.1
12. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:08.5
13. Al Qassimi / Patterson (Citroën C3 WRC) 2:10.3