Our Belgian crew Thierry and Nicolas fought back from their Saturday setback to claim a top-five result in Wales Rally GB, and retain the lead of the drivers’ championship.
With just two rallies remaining on the 2018 calendar – Spain and Australia – the title chase is heating up. Thierry holds just a seven-point advantage over Wales Rally GB winner Sébastien Ogier with Ott Tanak in third.
A tough weekend for our team with Andreas/Anders in sixth and Hayden/Seb in seventh also saw us lose ground in the manufacturers’ table. We are now 20 points behind Toyota, with a maximum of 86 left to score.
Sunday’s schedule included five stages. The 10km Elsi stage kicked off proceedings before crews were faced with the 14.76km Gwydir Power Stage, taking place earlier in the final day than usual.
There was no opportunity for a practice run in the slippery conditions, so it was a leap into the unknown. Thierry set the fourth fastest time to add two extra points to his championship total.
“We have given it everything this weekend,” said Thierry. “We can’t dwell on what has happened in recent rallies. We have to pick ourselves up and fight for overall victory in the final rounds. It’s in our hands.”
Three wins and a little malady
Having claimed three stage wins on Saturday, Andreas was hoping to continue his upward momentum. Unfortunately, he picked up an illness, which prevented him from achieving more than sixth place.
“I was feeling really bad, so I wasn’t able to watch any videos in preparation for the final morning,” he said. “Thankfully we were able to complete the rally but not in the sort of position we need to be finishing.”
Hayden and Seb brought their Wales Rally GB to an end in seventh place. “With only 11 seconds between fourth and eighth it was a close fight,” said Hayden. “There are some positives to take away even if the result doesn’t do us justice.”
Our Team Principal Michel summarised: “We have allowed ourselves to fall behind in the championship and now have just two rallies remaining from which we can bounce back. It will be an uphill battle but we have to give it everything possible.”
Final Overall Classification – Wales Rally GB
1 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:06:12.5
2 J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +10.6
3 E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +35.1
4 C. Breen / S. Martin (Citroën C3 R5) +1:10.4
5 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:14.4
6 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jæger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:15.9
7 H. Paddon / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:18.4
8 M. Østberg / T. Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +1:21.6
2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 11
1 T. Neuville 189
2 S. Ogier 182
3 O. Tanak 168
4 E. Lappi 104
5 J.M Latvala 98
6 A. Mikkelsen 83
7 D. Sordo 60
8 C. Breen 59
9 H. Paddon 55
10 T. Suninen 54
2018 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 11
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team 317
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 297
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 273
4 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 187