One of the big movers on Saturday’s leg, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm gradually made up ground on the leading crews to end day two in joint second position ahead of what promises to be an incredibly exciting climax on Sunday! Meanwhile, after rejoining the action to get more kilometres under their belt in the C3 WRC, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were also in impressive form for the Citroën Total World Rally Team, claiming no fewer than three stage wins as the battle among the leaders raged around them.
Featuring some genuine Rally Sweden classics such as Hagfors and Vargåsen, day two’s eight stages and competitive distance of 126.18km promised to serve up an intense battle for the podium places, a fight that still looked very open this morning. The highlight of the leg would be the two passes over the iconic Colin’s Crest, always incredibly popular with local fans!
After starting the day fifth overall, 24.2s adrift of third position, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm quickly returned to the sparkling form they had shown yesterday evening as they consistently made up ground on the stages, closing the gap to the podium places to just 2.1s by the mid-leg service. Completely at one with their C3 WRC, they did even better in the afternoon. The Finnish pair grabbed third place at the start of the afternoon loop thanks to the second fastest time on Rämmen (SS12, 23.13km), just 2.1s off the pace. They immediately backed up their performance with the third fastest time on Hagfors (23.40km), 3.8s behind the leading time. They kept up the pressure right to the end of the leg to move into joint second place on the final stage, held after nightfall! A decidedly positive day that leaves them with a very realistic chance of finishing on the podium tomorrow.
Having rejoined today looking purely to run in-competition testing, work on the set-up and continue to get used to the C3 WRC, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia nonetheless claimed three stage wins (SS10 , SS11 and SS14) in their new 2019 car. Yet further evidence of Citroën’s competitiveness this weekend, when the road conditions permitted.
Tomorrow’s final leg will see the Citroën Total World Rally Team crews complete two passes on the Likenäs stage and contest the Torsby Power Stage, covering a competitive distance of just over fifty kilometres. The same stages on which Esapekka Lappi was in blistering form last year, when he won two out the final three speed tests…
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal : “Clearly, it has been a very positive second leg! Esapekka and Janne managed to combine speed, consistency and control to gain no fewer than three places today, despite the thawing conditions that continued to make the second passes extremely difficult and tricky. It is so tight for the podium places, however, that they’ll have to keep pushing hard tomorrow. In any case, we are going to do everything we can to make sure they’re in the best possible shape and we know that when it comes to temperament, these guys are real fighters. Sébastien and Julien refused to be left out as well. Not only did they manage to help us obtain some valuable information for future appearances, but they also showed that the bond they have formed with the C3 WRC is also highly effective in these unusual conditions.“
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver : “It’s always a different race when you rejoin after a retirement, but we tried to find a good rhythm and try out a few things with the set-up, especially as we had a wide variety of conditions again today. It also gave me the chance to gradually improve my knowledge of the C3 WRC and the times we set today confirm its potential. As one of the first on the road, I’m not sure I have a real chance on the Power Stage tomorrow, but we’ll at least give it a good go.“
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver : “I think we can be pleased with our performance today! After a good morning, our afternoon was even more solid. I was comfortable in my C3 WRC in the ruts which had formed between the two loops. There are four of us that can realistically finish on the podium, so we’ll need to be wide awake tomorrow, especially as the Likenas stage, in particular, is so fast that you need to be fully committed. But as far as that is concerned, you can definitely count on us!”
STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:19:31.7
2. Lappi / Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) & Mikkelsen / Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 WRC) +54.5
4. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 56.8
5. Evans / Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:08.7
6. Meeke / Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:36.5
7. Loeb / Elena (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:38.1
8. Tidemand / Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:08.0
33. Ogier / Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +23:45.7
Press release Citroën Racing