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After Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle retired due to an electrical problem, the Abu Dhabi Total WRT were able to count on Craig Breen/Scott Martin and Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson to represent the team at the end of #rally de España. Craig and Scott concluded a rewarding race tenth overall to finish in the points.
Long before sunrise, the #wrc crews set off on this, the third and final leg with their headlamps on. If truth be told, this #rally had never looked it was meant to be for Kris Meeke. However, it ended in surprising fashion as the Northern Irishman stopped with an electrical problem just shy of the halfway mark on Pratdip 1 (19.3km).
Craig Breen, on the other hand, enjoyed a more positive start to the day. On both of the morning stages, he set times very close to those of Latvala – who was competing in similar conditions – and moved up from 13thto 11th position.
During the mid-leg service, the Irishman set himself the goal of moving back into the points. He managed to do just that on the second run on Pratdip, before strengthening his hold on tenth position during the Duesaigües Power Stage.
Khalid Al Qassimi also ended the #rally on a positive note. He gained three places during the morning to sneak into twelfth position and secure his best result of the season.
Abu Dhabi Total WRT will complete its World #rally Championship programme in two weeks’ time at Wales #rally GB (27-30 October). Four cars will be entered for Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gilles de Turckheim and Quentin Gilbert/Renaud Jamoul.
Craig Breen: “It has been a positive final day. This morning, it was still pitch black when we set off on SS16. But we set a good time compared with the guys who had the same visibility conditions as we did. We kept up the good form on the next few stages and we learned a lot, especially by trying out a few different set-ups. I’m really pleased to finish in the top 10 and score one point. I’m now really looking forward to competing at Wales #rally GB!”
Khalid Al Qassimi: “I’m happy to have made it to the end of this #rally without having any problems. The conditions on the first day didn’t help me but we managed to keep out of trouble. Overall, the team result is a bit disappointing, but everything that happened to Kris and Craig will help us to learn and be better in the future. My #wrc season is over now and I’m proud of what we have accomplished with Abu Dhabi Total WRT.”
Kris Meeke: “There’s not much to say about today, really. It just rounds off a frustrating weekend. It’s very rare for us to have to retire with an electrical issue but that’s just part and parcel of #racing. But we have look at the positives and move forward. A little bit like in Corsica, I have finished this #rally feeling better than I did at the end of 2015. And that’s the most important thing, because we’re already focused on 2017!”
UNOFFICIAL STANDINGS AFTER DAY 2
1. Ogier / Ingrassia (VW Polo R WRC) 3:13:03.6
2. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +15.6
3. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:15.0
4. Paddon / Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:27.8
5. Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:24.4
6. Tänak / Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +5:24.9
7. Abbring / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +7:31.3
8. Kopecky / Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +9:05.1
9. Tidemand / Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) +9:20.4
10. Breen / Martin (DS 3 WRC) +9:57.1
… 12. Al Qassimi / Patterson (DS 3 WRC) +19:24.5
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