Rautenbach scores for Citroėn Junior Team
At the end of an action-packed Cyprus Rally, the Citroen Junior Team can add four p oints to its total thanks to a sixth place from Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt. Evgeny Novikov/Dale Moscatt and Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia were not able to make the finish of the third and final day.

The final day of the Cyprus Rally had been identified as a formidable challenge by most of the crews. Despite a reasonably contained competitive distance of 82.27 kilometres, there were two big obstacles on the horizon.

Namely, these were a pair of long stages : the 30.03 kilometres of Foini and the 40.54 kilometres of Anadiou. These were followed by a second run through the 11.70-kilometre Anadiou Dam test.

All these stages were run in delicate conditions due to a cold wind that led to low temperatures : just 6°C at the start of SS12 (Foini).

Evgeny Novikov and Dale Moscatt began the day seventh, but were caught out by the ninth kilometre of Foini – prematurely ending their excellent rally, which had up to that point been characterised by seven stage times within the top eight fastest times, including a third-fastest time at the end of the second day.

After setting off for the Troodos mountain stages with the firm aim of getting past Matthew Wilson, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia only took two stages to secure fifth place. But just a couple of hundred metres before the rally finish, whilst trying to hold onto his slender advantage, the reigning Junior World Rally Champion ended his event in a ditch.

Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt were consequently promoted to sixth place and scored their first points of the season. « I am really pleased to get to the end of such a difficult rally, » said the Zimbabwean. « This sixth place means that we can claim important points for ourselves and for the Citroen Junior Team. It is a good result. »

Benoit Nogier, the Citroen Junior Team Manager, admitted : « It is disappointing for us to see only one of our cars at the finish. But the crews all set promising times throughout the weekend. Evgeny set off at a good pace this morning, but he went off the road during the first stage this morning and sadly he was not able to get back on. Sebastien had beaten Matthew Wilson and needed only a few hundred metres more to seal a good result. Conrad has been consistent throughout the weekend, allowing the team to score some important points. We are happy to score these points, which follow on from all the work we carried out last year. The next rally, in Portugal, should be a little bit easier for our drivers – who are all still learning. »

The Citroen Junior Team can now add four more points to the seven scored so far this season, maintaining fourth place in the manufacturer standings.

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