Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team enjoy Rally Finland success

by Umar Hassan

The Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team enjoyed podium success on the fast gravel stages of Rally Finland 2016.

Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke won Rally Finland with co-driver Paul Nagle on the fastest-ever recorded WRC rally. Meeke and Nagle covered the entire Rally Finland event at an average speed of 126.6 kilometres per hour (78.6 miles per hour) to win their second WRC event of the 2016 season.

Meeke’s team-mates Craig Breen and Scott Martin were third, claiming their maiden WRC podium. He fended off some stiff competition which included Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon and DMACK’s Ott Tänak to name but a few competitors the Irishman had beaten to finish in third place.

Breen also won his first-ever WRC stage win on SS23, claiming the win ahead of the New Zealander by just a tenth of a second. Meanwhile, Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Paterson finished in sixteenth place to round out the three Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen DS 3’s in the top 20 after Rally Finland 2016.

Rally Finland-winner Meeke said “It’s an incredible feeling to win on the greatest roads in the world. This result was largely determined yesterday with the two runs on Ouninpohja. At the end of the first run, I didn’t know my time but I knew that I had driven really well. But I could hardly believe it when I found out that I gone thirteen seconds faster than Jari-Matti Latvala!

Credit: @World Photography/Citroen Racing Media

Credit: @World Photography/Citroen Racing Media

“Last year, in the other direction, he beat me by six seconds when I thought I had driven the perfect stage. That just goes to show the progress we have made, through a combination of work with the team and my growing experience. I also have to say that the car worked perfectly all weekend.

“We only did one day of testing, last Sunday, but that was enough for us to see that we already had the best set-up. I felt really confident right from the word go and that was a key factor in the win. This morning, I was totally relaxed. I just had to drive the last few stages to finish off the work that we had done in the first two days.”

Breen added “It’s the best day of my career again. But it seems that with this car, every day is a bit better! When I grabbed third place yesterday afternoon, I already felt that I had moved up another level. There weren’t many kilometres left to complete today but it was still pretty tough because I was put under pressure by my rivals.

“I couldn’t be happier, claiming my first WRC stage win and finishing on the podium. The finish was very emotional. I couldn’t believe it, but it was fantastic to celebrate this moment with the people who have supported me. It’s also a richly-deserved result for the guys in the team, who had to work hard to repair the car after I went off during testing on Monday. I’ve taken a step closer to where I want to be this weekend.”

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