26 October 2015
WRC RallyRACC Catalunya: Meeke "grafts out" fifth place finish
Kris Meeke helps Citroen maintain second position in the Manufacturers' after finishing fifth in Spain, just 1.9s behind team-mate Mads Ostberg
Britain's Kris Meeke managed to “graft out” a fifth place finish on RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada last weekend helping Citroen maintain second position in the Manufacturers'.
Meeke finished the first day on gravel down in eighth, but climbed back up the order on Saturday and Sunday when the action switched to aspahlt.
The Ulsterman was in front of team-mate Mads Ostberg going into the final leg, after the Norwegian spun in Saturday's closing test.
However, in SS19, the second test on Sunday, it was Meeke's turn to spin, losing 10 seconds and slipping back behind the sister car.
At the finish the two were split by just 1.9s, with Meeke claiming a bonus point after finishing third in the Power Stage.
"Okay, not a great weekend, but we grafted out a great result,” Meeke said.
“It was a fairly strange weekend. With no experience on the gravel stages, I wasn't really on the pace on Friday and we lost time on some of our rivals. On tarmac, with different tyres to last year, I didn't have a very good feeling in the car [either], but the result is still positive for the team. It's now up to us to finish the season on a high at the final rally in Wales.”
Citroen will go into Rally GB with 206 points on the board, 4 more than Hyundai, after eking out the gap by 3 points in Spain.
“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,” added Citroen boss Yves Matton.
“We will now turn our attention to Wales Rally GB, with its very special surface, where we will aim to finish the job!”
Meanwhile, Ostberg was pleased with fourth, despite that puncture on Friday in SS5, which dropped him back from second to fifth.
"I'm very happy,” he remarked. “Okay, disappointed with my puncture on the first day, but we've ended up with the position we deserved.”
“We made a very good start on Friday," he continued back in service. "We were one of the quickest crews on gravel, despite our road position. Unfortunately a puncture on the longest stage meant we lost a lot of time. I think we were also very competitive on tarmac. Our performances during today's final leg showed that. I am now really looking forward to Wales."
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