Citroën Claims A One-Two Finish And Moves Back Into The Title Hunt!
Brilliantly reliable and competitive, the C3 WRCs of Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi - Janne Ferm claimed a magnificent one-two finish at Rally Turkey, enabling the French crew to move back into serious contention in the race for the drivers’ and co-drivers’ world titles.
This one-two finish is the Citroën Total World Rally Team’s first such result since the 2015 Rally Argentina and is the team’s third win this season, following victories in Monte-Carlo and Mexico. It also sees them take their ninth and tenth podiums of the year. It equally signals the team’s return to the front with an impressively fast and robust C3 WRC this weekend and illustrates its determination to fight all the way in the championship. The result is certainly excellent news for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who move back up to second in the standings, just seventeen points behind the leaders, with some ninety points left up for grabs in the three remaining rounds of the season.
Third on the road on Friday, Sébastien and Julien got off to a frustrating start with a puncture six kilometres from the end of the first proper stage. However, they moved back up to third place on the next stage and ended the day in second overall, 17.7s behind their team-mates, setting two consecutive third fastest times in the process. A bold tyre choice for Saturday morning’s opening stage in the very hot conditions (three medium and two hard Michelin tyres) enabled them to claim their first stage win of the weekend on Yesilbelde (33km). Their rivals were left at least a minute behind. They then focused on taking as few risks as possible and controlling their pace. They nonetheless grabbed the second fastest time on the repeat of Yesilbelde, which took them into the overall lead. This morning, they were therefore well placed to bring home their third win in the C3 WRC and also secure their seventh podium in 2019.
Making the most of their position down the running order (ninth) on day one, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm impressed on SS2 with a second fastest time. They then took the overall lead on the following test with their first stage win! Clearly at home in the C3 WRC, Citroën’s Finns were as calm and focused as they were impressive, despite their road position being a disadvantage on certain very rough sections of Friday’s afternoon loop and having a tyre package ill-suited to the rain that began to fall late in the day. They even added two stage wins to their tally and led the rally until a brief stall on SS12 saw them relinquish the lead to their team-mates. A minor mishap that didn’t prevent them from heading into Sunday’s final leg in a strong position to claim their third podium of the season, after also finishing as runners-up in Sweden and Finland.
The tactics were fairly straight-forward for the Citroën Total World Rally Team on the final day’s remaining 38.62 kilometres. Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm’s job was to maintain a decent pace so as to secure second place and avoid the risk of being caught out. Meanwhile, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia needed to confirm their pace notes on Marmaris (7.05km), the day’s opening speed test that would also be used as the Power Stage. They then had to look after their tyres on the next two stages so they could push as much as possible on the final test in the hope of collecting a few bonus points. Citroën’s crews stuck to the plan, securing the one-two finish, whilst Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored three extra points with the third fastest time on the Power Stage.