WRC: Citroen one-two in Argentina with the DS3 WRC
Citroën Racing really does love Rally Argentina. The French team has now won ten of its last eleven appearances in Carlos Paz. This victory, built from the outset by Kris Meeke, has been the perfect way to launch the DS brand in South America.
Having already set the joint fastest time in Wednesday’s shakedown, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle only missed out on winning the first stage by 0.2 seconds. Having grabbed the lead after the treacherous SS2, the DS 3 WRC crew then controlled perfectly from the front on what is an incredibly difficult event.
Kris Meeke maintained his lead to the end to take his first ever win in the World Championship. In doing so, he claimed the first win by a British driver since Colin McRae prevailed at the 2002 Safari Rally. Kris becomes the 74th driver to win a World Championship race and the fourth most successful Briton, after the late Colin McRae (25 wins), Richard Burns (10) and Roger Clarke (1). Paul Nagle is only the second Irish co-driver to win a WRC round after Ronan McNamee in 1989. For Citroën Racing, this is their 94th WRC win and their 29th one-two finish, both of which are new records!
As in Mexico, Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson collected a large haul of points as runners-up. After four rounds of the 2015 season, they now lie second in the World Championship standings, having also secured a bonus point in the Power Stage.
Thanks to the maximum points scored in this one-two finish, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team now lies second in the Manufacturers’ standings.
Next up is Rally de Portugal on 21-24 May. This year, the base for the event – still held on gravel – moves to Matosinhos, to the north of Porto.
Yves Matton (Citroën Racing Team Principal): “This tenth win in Argentina goes way beyond the goals we had set. We haven’t had a one-two finish in the WRC since 2012 and our last win goes back to a little over a year ago. Argentina has been a happy hunting ground for Citroën Racing for years, in rallying and in track racing. Our strength has been the reliability of the DS 3 WRCs. This year’s Rally Argentina was exceptionally difficult and our drivers managed the race with a lot of intelligence.”
Kris Meeke: “Everything was fine until we got the end of the last stage. Once we had crossed the line, I was overcome with emotions. It’ll take time for it to really sink in. I didn’t start the rally aiming to fight for the win. I just wanted to have an error-free rally. The seven-week break really helped me. From the shakedown onwards, I felt full of confidence. It was a really difficult race but the DS 3 WRC is a solid and reliable car. All the other guys had problems and we secured a one-two finish. Mads had a fantastic rally as well. I have to thank Yves Matton, who believed in me. He gave me a great opportunity and he has been supportive throughout. This is just the first step in me thanking him for that support. I hope there will be others. This one is for Colin McRae.”
Mads Østberg: “It’s a fantastic result for the whole team, which is obviously very encouraging for the rallies to come. We came hoping to fight for place on the podium, but finishing with the two DS 3 WRC first and second is a great performance. The DS brand has given us a huge amount of support, so I’m pleased we have been able to bring home a result like this!”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “During this rally, I had to focus on learning about the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC, which is new to me. On my first appearance here, I drove at 50%, sometimes at 75% so I’m pleased with the result. I’m even more pleased about the performance of my team-mates. This one-two finish also shows the total commitment of the team, who have worked incredibly hard. They deserve it.”