Saturday, 24 January 2015

Rally - Ford setback

Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans encountered some set-backs today. Conditions on the ‘Lardier et Valenca – Faye’ tenth stage were largely dry with a three kilometre stretch of ice and snow. Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder mastered the difficult section, but running further down the field they had to contend with much dirtier road conditions. Encountering a patch of gravel over a crest 38 kilometres into the stage, the pairing's Ford Fiesta RS WRC slid off the road. Enthusiastic spectators were quickly on the case but the crew lost more than 18 minutes as a result.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta, Evans was catching fourth-placed man Mads Østberg. With the upper hand through the drying sections, the Welshman posted a number of impressive split times – taking four seconds out of his rival on the final split alone.

As they embarked on the afternoon stages, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt were hoping for more of the same. Unfortunately, the Brits clipped a wall through the ‘Prunieres – Embrun 2’ eleventh stage and damaged the rear suspension of their Fiesta RS WRC.

The duo made a temporary repair which got them though the final stage (SS12) and safely into parc fermé.

Afterwards, Elfyn Evans said: "We had made the corner, but when we put the power down on the exit it was a lot more slippery than we had expected and the rear kicked out and clipped the wall. It broke a suspension arm so in a way we are very lucky to be here and to have made it back. It was a bit touch and go to be honest, but at least we are here. It is not ideal to have dropped two positions by all means, but it's better than not being here at all."

Ott Tänak (20th) said: "After this morning's disappointment it was important to take our time and rebuild the confidence. It was good to slow it down because it's so difficult when the speed and the grip are changing so often – it's hard to find a good rhythm. We've had some more time to relax and we've found some places where we can improve which is what we wanted to do."

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