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Mads Ostberg hangs onto second place !

The only crew able to match the pace of the local team, Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen held onto their provisional runner-up spot at the today’s second leg, contested once again at breakneck speeds in their C3 WRC. Hampered by running third on the road, Craig Breen and Scott Martin nonetheless consolidated their ninth place, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson unfortunately ran into trouble on the day’s opening stage. With a competitive distance of some 143 kilometres, today’s second leg clearly represented the weekend’s heavyweight challenge, but Mads Østberg produced another fine performance, running in a similar road position to his main rivals.  The Norwegian immediately extended his advantage over Latvala, the third-placed driver, with three consecutive second-fastest times, in the wake of Tänak’s blistering lead pace. Mads even got to within just 3.7s of the Estonian on the 23.66km of the formidable Kakaristo stage, a revamped version of the iconic Ouninpohja test, where plenty of the event’s long history has been written. However, his rivals – at their home event – were more threatening in the afternoon. Despite the pressure, and being weighed down by an extra spare tyre, he showed true fighting spirit to hold onto his second place, with a 5.4s lead over Latvala. Third in the running order after his puncture in yesterday’s leg, Craig Breen knew what a tough day lay ahead of him, sweeping the fine layer of gravel off the road surface for those further down the order. He was nevertheless able to match the current championship leader, who was also running early in the order. He grabbed any opportunities to show what he could do, as proven by his fifth fastest time, just 2.6s off the stage-winning time, on SS15. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi was unfortunately caught out a few kilometres into the opening stage and had to retire for the day. The Emirati driver will nonetheless rejoin the race tomorrow under Rally 2 rules, as he aims to keep improving behind the wheel of the C3 WRC. There are only 45.72km left to cover tomorrow, but with two passes on the Ruuhimäki stage, famous for its series of huge jumps, Sunday’s leg promises to serve up yet more excitement and the Red Army is determined not to miss out on the fun!   WHAT THEY SAID Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal « Although Tänak was in a class of his own this morning, Mads blew us away again by keeping all the others in his slipstream. His form faded slightly this afternoon from carrying the second spare tyre, but he managed his lead with great skill and is still second going into tomorrow’s final leg. It remains wide open. Craig couldn’t really have done much more than he did, given his road position and the extra weight from carrying two spares in the afternoon loop. » Craig Breen « Although it’s always frustrating for us as drivers to not be able to do any more, we had a decent day given our road position, setting similar times to those around us in the running order. » Mads Østberg  « Once again, we gave it everything today on these magnificent and very demanding roads. With the warm conditions, in the afternoon we had to contend with high tyre wear. We also had extra weight from the two spares we took for the second loop, but I think we managed really very well to hang onto second place! I’m pretty confident about tomorrow. We’ve already shown that we can hold off Latvala. » Khalid Al Qassimi  « It’s a shame to have made a mistake in a technical section on the loose gravel, but these things can happen at events that are as difficult as this one. I have high hopes that I can make up some ground again tomorrow. »   STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2

  1. Tänak / Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:13:18.2
  2. Ostberg / Eriksen (Citroën C3 WRC) + 39.0
  3. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 44.4
  4. Lappi / Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) + 1:20.6
  5. Paddon / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) + 1:29.6
  6. Suninen / Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 1:45.1
  7. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:07.6
  8. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) + 2:17.9
  9. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) + 2:56.4
  10. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:34.5
Press release Citroën Racing]]>

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