• Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi builds up speed and confidence gradually with every stage completed.
  • Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT drivers Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg hold 3rd and 4th positions.
  • Abu Dhabi Racing’s junior driver Mohamed Al Mutawaa in the top 10 WRC3 list      


Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team secured 3rd and 4th positions by the end of day 2 (Friday) of Rally Finland – Round 8 of FIA World Rally Championship. Day 2 consisted of nine stages with total length of 157.63 km. British driver Kris Meeke was leading after SS2, and has won SS7, but high competition from championship leader “Ogier” and the Finnish driver ”Latvala” deprived him the early lead and he ended the day in 3rd place in front of his teammate the Norwegian Mads Østberg who moved up in positions from 8th to 4th overall aboard the DS 3 WRC.


Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi was focused on building up speed and confidence gradually with every stage completed and he was lucky to escape a trip into a ditch on SS3. “The stages are super-fast, I’m building my confidence gradually after a 4 year absence from Rally Finland where at some point you have to lift off to avoid mistakes. There are drivers pushing beyond the limits, and this is the only way to set fast times at Rally Finland which is full of blind corners, blind crests and high jumps across forests and dense trees.”


“In general, I hoped I would get more confidence on the repeat loop, but passing so many crashed cars it didn’t happen. Hopefully it will come tomorrow.”


Kris Meeke expressed his happiness with Rally Finland Stages. “Finland is a wonderful place to race aboard WRC cars; I had good feelings all day posting some excellent times with every stage driven, where I had the lead up till the end of stage 2. I suffered during SS4, it felt that the car is going on 3 wheels with a problem thought to be the drive shaft but turned out to be the transmission which made us lose precious seconds. In general we feel very confident; our goal is to end the race with the highest number of points for Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, strengthening our overall standing in the championship”.


After the service break, Meeke was still facing some issues with his car. But the British driver won SS7 and was a full three seconds up on Latvala in, “Sometimes when you have a little thing it focuses the mind,” he says. “The front end of my car is still wandering, it has a mind of its own, but I can cope with it – in the corners it follows the ruts. It’s at 99 per cent and I can make up the other one per cent, but in Finland you have to be 100 per cent to get close. I did everything I could to get close.”


As for Mads Østberg, he was gaining positions steadily by setting excellent times, while demonstrating the confidence he built during the 2nd part of the day, where he finished 4th overall. “I’ve enjoyed my day, the 2nd loop was much better than the 1st. I have a good feeling and will be faster tomorrow (in Day 3)”


Within the JWRC; Abu Dhabi Racing’s junior driver Mohamed Al Mutawaa was steadily increasing his speed taking advantage of enhanced pace notes compared to the ones during Rally Poland, and finish the day inside the to 10 list moving up all the way from 15th to 9th.


Day 3 (August 1) of Rally Finland consists of 8 stages with total length of 130.68 km.


Provisional Overall Classification after SS10

1/ J. LATVALA / Volkswagen Polo R WRC / 1:16:19.2

2/ S. OGIER / Volkswagen Polo R WRC / +2.6

3/ K. MEEKE / DS 3 WRC / +24.0

4/ M. OSTBERG / DS 3 WRC / +34.1

5/ T. NEUVILLE / Hyundai i20 WRC / +1:49.6

6/ D. SORDO / Hyundai i20 WRC / +1:52.3

7/ J. HANNINEN / Ford Fiesta RS WRC / +2:22.5

8/ M. PROKOP / Ford Fiesta RS WRC / +2:46.6

9/ E. LAPPI / Skoda R5 / +3:18.5

10/ O. TANAK / Ford Fiesta RS WRC / +3:30.2