M-Sport World Rally Team's Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak made a promising start to the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship at Rallye Monte-Carlo. Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt finished the event in a solid seventh place but it could have been so much more. The Welshman was in a strong fifth place – chasing fourth – when he clipped a wall in SS11 and damaged the rear suspension of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Never willing to give up the fight, he and Barritt resourcefully fashioned a temporary repair which avoided retirement and kept them in the fight.
Tänak and his co-driver Raigo Mõlder were running as high as second overall before being caught out by an unsighted patch of gravel after a crest in SS10. His Fiesta RS WRC slid off the road down the side of a steep embankment. Rallying the enthusiastic spectators around him, the Estonian achieved the seemingly impossible, re-joining the stage. He finished 18th, and collected two manufacturer points.
At the finish Elfyn Evans said: "There's a feeling of what could have been at the end of this event. The potential was definitely there to do more, but there were a couple of silly mistakes on my part – one of which was extremely costly. We had some very good tyre choices throughout the weekend, but then again some weren't quite so good so there are some things to learn. Overall the speed has been good and that is definitely a big positive that we can take from this weekend. We can also see where we went wrong which is important for the future and I'm looking forward to coming back and having another go at the event next year."
Ott Tänak said: "It's not been such a bad weekend for us. We were not pushing – just trying to drive with a reasonably good rhythm. The conditions were very tricky and the grip level changed on almost every corner so it was a proper Rallye Monte-Carlo! That is what makes this rally so difficult and that's why you need to have really good pacenotes and have the experience to know how the conditions are changing from one section to the next. Unfortunately we just had one moment yesterday which lost us a lot of time. But we have certainly learnt a lot."
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson added: "The result is not what it could have been, but I have been extremely impressed by both Elfyn and Ott this weekend. We were running as high as third and fourth overall [Tänak as high as second after SS1] and it is fair to say that we never expected to be in that position. Finally, I want to commend two unsung heroes of the WRC: the spectators who helped Ott and Raigo re-join the event yesterday afternoon; and our mechanics who had to make some significant repairs in limited time over the past two days. I fully believe that we have the best technicians in the sport. They've proven their skill time and time again and it is a pleasure to have each and every one of them under the M-Sport banner."