The Citroen Racing Abu Dhabi Total team had an extremely disappointing end to the 2017 World Rally Championship campaign Down Under with the Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
Following a strong start for Ireland’s Craig Breen which saw the Waterford native go into day 3 with a shot at a podium finish he rolled his C3 WRC and speaking following the rally he commented by saying:
It was a big off. I’ve not had one like that for a long time. Fortunately, the C3 WRC is a solid car and the safety features did their job perfectly. We weren’t sure of finishing in fourth place and I knew I had to push to counter a return from Paddon, who had slightly better road conditions than we did. I didn’t want to end the season with another fifth place without making a fight of it.
Kris Meeke set the fifth fastest time on the final stage and moved up to place overall following Jari Matti Latvala’s retirement from the event. Speaking following the rally, the Northern Irishman commented by saying:
The idea today was to prepare for 2018. From that perspective, it was pretty handy that it started raining because we could work in conditions where we have quite a lot of room for improvement. It wasn’t easy for me to push when I had nothing to gain, but what we have learned this morning will undoubtedly prove useful in the future.
Stephane Lefebvre was also forced to retire from the rally just like Breen after hitting a tree stump. Speaking following the event he commented by saying:
Obviously, it’s not the best way of ending the season. I just made a mistake on the first stage, a long right-hander. The conditions were awful, with a lot of water, which made the ground as slippery as ice in places. I got caught out by a slippery patch of mud. The car understeered, ran slightly wide and we hit a big tree stump. It’s a shame and I’m sorry for everyone in the team.