Thursday | 09 Jul 2015

Poland driver report: part 2

We analyse how the top drivers fared over the super-fast roads at 72nd LOTOS Rally Poland in the second of our two-part summary.

Mads Østberg (DS 3)
The Norwegian lies third in the points – but you wouldn’t have known it from his Poland performance. Ninth was not what was expected from a potential championship podium finisher. Mads was unhappy – very unhappy – about the lack of a pre-event test and took every opportunity to tell people. And, in his defence, Citroën boss Yves Matton admitted not testing was a mistake.

Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R)
What is it about Poland’s last stage and Latvala? In 2009 he crashed out of second in the final test and conceded fourth by shunting again last weekend. To be fair, the circumstances were different. Six years ago he held a safe second, this time he was hunting down Ott Tänak for third. But he lacked the pace of his team-mates throughout and will hope for better as the WRC’s summer of speed heads to Finland.

Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20)
The jury is out on the Belgian’s performance. He said he was happy enough with his speed and sixth place, despite a brief final day roll that he couldn’t understand. But even without the crash, he would have finished behind team-mate Hayden Paddon, whose i20 is a step behind Neuville’s in terms of development. A wrong call on tyres on Saturday afternoon, like many, didn’t help though.

Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20)
A bit of a horror weekend for the Spaniard. Pace note issues, a lack of confidence in his set-up and going down the soft tyre route in Saturday afternoon’s blistering heat conspired to mean it was a pretty glum weekend for Sordo. He’s better than 10th place and after a poor result on the previous round in Italy, he needs to deliver something more in Finland.

Martin Prokop (Ford Fiesta RS)
After winning the opening stage in Italy, Prokop did it again in Poland by topping the times in Friday evening’s Mikolajki super special. That ended a disappointing opening leg for the Czech, in which he struggled to get comfortable with the pace notes and the feeling. The final two days were better, but Prokop admitted he hoped for better than 11th.

Robert Kubica (Ford Fiesta RS)
Kubica was surrounded by huge crowds wherever he set foot, such is his popularity in Poland. Another to struggle with his pace notes initially as he found them too slow. He resolved the problem and, despite a spin and a brief off on Saturday, he was on course for seventh until a final stage puncture relegated him a place. Most definitely one of his better performances.

Lorenzo Bertelli (Ford Fiesta RS)
At last! At the seventh time of asking this season, the Italian finally made it to the end of a WRC encounter without having to use Rally 2. And given his previous record, this event was pretty drama-free. He punctured in SS7 on Friday, but that was his only major issue en route to 16th and his best result of the year.

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