M-Sport World Rally Team's Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans got off to a flying start on the first full day of competition at Rallye Monte-Carlo today ending the day in fourth and sixth places.
Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder posted the second fastest time through yesterday's opening speed test (SS1); and carried that momentum with them into this morning's loop of stages.
Evans too was proving his worth, posting the third fastest time through the first pass of 'La Salle en Beaumont – Corps' (SS3). He and co-driver Daniel Barritt held their own throughout the morning and looked on course to make further gains throughout the afternoon.
Unfortunately for the Welshman, unpredictable conditions on the second pass led to a spin on SS6. He was unable to capitalise on his studded tyres, and found himself at a disadvantage as the conditions bettered for the final speed tests [SS7 and SS8].
Ott Tänak (4th) said: "It has been a very tricky day. The first pass was really icy and foggy and I was surprised to see that the conditions weren't much better in the afternoon. It was a little better for the last two stages [SS7 and SS8], but still I think we can say that this is a proper Rally Monte-Carlo!"
Elfyn Evans (6th) said: "The first two stages this morning [SS3 and SS4] were very promising and I was really happy with our pace. But if I'm honest this afternoon was a bit frustrating. On the first stage [SS6] – where we had the right tyres – I made a clumsy mistake; and then we just didn't have the [tyre] package in the car for what we needed on the second two [SS7 and SS8]. It's been a testing afternoon, and as we saw on the last stage [SS8] anything can happen. There is still a long way to go, but at the same time, you always want to do the best you can."
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: "It's been a terrific start for the two youngsters. We certainly didn't expect to be in this sort of position at the end of day two but both Ott [Tänak] and Elfyn [Evans] have driven well and are in really strong positions because of that.”