source: Citroën Racing
Ten crews lined up at the start of the opening round of the 2015 season of the FIA Junior WRC. On Thursday night’s opening stage, the Irishman Daniel McKenna grabbed the early lead as he went fastest between Entrevaux and Rouaine. But he was then handed a 2 min 20s penalty for arriving late at the time control for SS2.
Quentin Gilbert took advantage of this. The Frenchman topped the timesheets on the second stage to end the day in the lead, ahead of his fellow countryman Terry Folb, the Italian Simone Tempestini, the Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby and the German Christian Riedemann. Yohan Rossel (two punctures) and Charlotte Dalmasso (off) lost over five minutes.
Determined to make up the time lost, Daniel McKenna once again claimed a stage win at the start of day two. But a head-to-head fight began to take shaped between two Frenchmen: Quentin Gilbert and Terry Folb each won a stage to reach the midday service in Gap almost a minute clear of their rivals.
In the afternoon, Quentin Gilbert extended his lead whilst Terry Folb was held up by engine problems. Gilbert was at that point more than a minute ahead of Veiby, with Folb, Riedemann, Tempestini and McKenna completing the top six.
Mechanical issues forced Terry Folb (engine) and Daniel McKenna (gearbox) to retire at the end of day two. Quentin Gilbert continued to press home his domination with two further stage wins on Saturday’s leg, whilst Christian Riedemann pushed hard to try and make up ground on Ole Christian Veiby. By the time the crews reached Monaco, Quentin Gilbert had a 3 min 45s lead over Veiby and Riedemann. Simone Tempestini and Yohan Rossel made up the top five.
On Sunday morning, Quentin Gilbert held position as he went over the Col de Turini. He thus secured his maiden FIA Junior WRC win on his debut appearance in the championship. Christian Riedemann grabbed the runner-up spot from Ole Christian Veiby on the penultimate stage. Simone Tempestini finished fourth, ahead of Yohan Rossel, Alessandro Re, Kornel Lukacs and Charlotte Dalmasso.
Quentin Gilbert: “It’s great to start the season with a win. The team did a fantastic job and the DS 3 R3-MAX worked like a treat. We managed the race very well, although the final leg was very tough, because we had to hold our position. We made the right calls on tyres and I was able to drive quickly without overdoing it. We now need to keep doing the same thing for the rest of the season!”
Christian Riedemann: “I’m very happy to finish second in my first Rallye Monte-Carlo. It was a really tough event. We improved over the course of the stages and this result is just rewards. In Portugal, we’ll be experiencing a brand new route. I’m beginning to feel I’m pretty experienced on gravel and so we’ll need to score heavily again for the championship.”
Ole Christian Veiby: “I can’t believe I have finished on the podium in my first ever race in the FIA Junior WRC! It’s incredible. I had only taken part in one tarmac rally before this one. I’m very pleased and I can’t wait to continue the season with the DS 3 R3-MAX!”
STÉPHANE LEFEBVRE WINS IN THE WRC2
The reigning FIA Junior WRC champion, Stéphane Lefebvre is competing this year in the FIA WRC2 championship in a DS 3 R5. Alongside co-driver Stéphane Prévot, he made the perfect start to the season in claiming his maiden win on the roads of Monte-Carlo.
“It’s like a dream,” commented Stéphane Lefebvre at the finish. “The entire team has done a fantastic job. The Rallye Monte-Carlo is always a very difficult event, but we made the right calls when it came to tyre choice. We didn’t take any risks in the closing stages to make sure of claiming this great win. I am very happy to start the championship like this!”
PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Quentin Gilbert / Renaud Jamoul 4:08:32.7
2. Christian Riedemann / Michael Wenzel +2:23.7
3. Ole Christian Veiby / Anders Jaeger +2:12.3
4. Simone Tempestini / Matteo Chiarcossi +5:28.4
5. Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand +11:27.7
6. Alessandro Re / Giacomo Ciucci +12:04.5
7. Kornel Lukacs / Mark Mesterhazi +20:02.4
8. Charlotte Dalmasso / Marine Delon +39:10.4
Quentin Gilbert, 5 – Daniel Mc Kenna, Simone Tempestini and Yohan Rossel, 2 – Terry Folb, Ole Christian Veiby and Christian Riedemann, 1.
SS1: Daniel Mc Kenna
SS2 to SS15 (finish): Quentin Gilbert
FIA JUNIOR WRC STANDINGS
1. Quentin Gilbert 25 points
2. Christian Riedemann 18 points
3. Ole Christian Veiby 15 points
4. Simone Tempestini 12 points
5. Yohan Rossel 10 points
6. Alessandro Re 8 points
7. Kornel Lukacs 6 points
8. Charlotte Dalmasso 4 points
1. France 25 points
2. Germany 18 points
3. Norway 15 points
4. Italy 12 points
5. Hungary 6 points
source: Citroën Racing