With their chances of a podium place dealt a serious blow by the two punctures picked up by Ogier – Ingrassia yesterday on Panzerplatte, the Citroën Total World Rally Team concentrated today on improving the handling of the C3 WRC. The work done highlighted a few ideas on how to change the set-up, whilst also underlining the need to go further still. Today’s final leg concluded with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in seventh place, whilst Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm were just behind in eight overall, after briefly fighting back up to sixth position. This result means the French crew, who also scored a bonus point in claiming fifth place on the Power Stage, now lie third in the provisional world championship standings.
Although they very quickly noted that the set-up wasn't quite right and the C3 WRC was understeering, meaning they had to push really hard to compensate, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia ended the opening leg in third place. This despite making a few minor mistakes, unsurprisingly so given they were having to drive on – or over – the limit to keep in touch with the leaders. With day two including stages in the Baumholder military base, where they have delivered some formidable performances in the past, they had high hopes of being able to consolidate their position. Unfortunately, they fell foul of the very unpredictable nature of the Panzerplatte stage. They lost a little time with a slow puncture on the first run but worse was to come on the repeat, with a second puncture costing them more than 1m 30s. Their poor luck dropped them out of contention for the leading positions, leaving them to use the final leg as a test.
Less experienced on this demanding event, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm were nevertheless just 7.3s off fourth place halfway through the first leg. However, they too made a mistake, a spin on SS5, as they struggled to push despite the set-up of the car not being entirely to their liking. They ended day one in seventh position. Whilst setting two second fastest times (SS9 and SS11) on Saturday, reflecting the progress made on the set-up of the C3 WRC, they were unable to avoid another minor error, but they dug in to make their contribution to the efforts undertaken by the team.