FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – Round 5, Rally Argentina
Al Qassimi: “I’m pleased to see our C3 WRC make regular progress”
Villa Carlos Paz (Argentina) – Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT used the final leg in the demanding competitive testing conditions provided by Rally Argentina to keep working on its C3 WRC, whilst also setting some probing times. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle moved up a place in the standings to finish seventh overall, whilst Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson concluded their first WRC outing of the season successfully meeting Al Qassimi’s goal.
Despite being hampered by running very high up the order (3rd), Kris Meeke once again showed the qualities of the C3 WRC. After finishing fourth – just 2.8s off the stage-winning time – on the first run on Copina – El Condor (16.43km), he moved up into seventh, a position he held until the end of the rally. Already looking ahead, Kris also took advantage of the last few stages to conduct some full-scale testing for Portugal, and saw his persistence and determination rewarded with a fifth fastest time (3.7s off the pace over 16.43km) on the Power Stage, earning him one bonus point.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi was first on the road and therefore forced to sweep the loose gravel from the roads on stages that are known to become rutted as more cars complete. He could take some satisfaction from having made it to the end of the rally, feeling that he had gradually got to grips with the C3 WRC on his first competitive outing in the car after many months away from the WRC.
Kris Meeke: “It was a good day for us: we did set-up tests for Portugal and it was informative. The feeling was very good in the car. Apart from that, and the frustration of not being able to bring home the result that we deserved, the main thing for me is that the upgrades introduced this weekend to the C3 WRC enabled us to be a lot more consistent. I felt confident throughout the weekend, even when fighting for the podium. I felt that I had the situation under control at all times and we need to keep going in this direction.”
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi: “I’m pleased to see our C3 WRC make regular progress and I’m convinced that this will lead to some good results very shortly. On a more personal note, running first on the road didn’t make life easy for me, but I was happy to be back with the team and enjoy the atmosphere of the championship again.”