M-Sport World Rally Team's Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans had to contend with inconsistent grip levels through the morning loop on Rally Sweden, and bided their time. Knowing all too well how unforgiving the Swedish stages can be, the pairing adopted an intelligent approach – opting for a risk-free strategy.
Running eleventh car on the road, Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder found themselves with the worst of the road conditions. The second pass proved more fruitful, but with more gravel exposed by the cars ahead, they had to reign in their speed to protect the studs.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans benefitted from a more advantageous road position than his team mate and made the most of the more predictable grip levels. He significantly increased his seconds per kilometre compared to the rally leaders.
Having made a considerable step-up in performance from this time last year, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt were happy with their pace – albeit ruing yesterday's misjudgement under braking which cost them two minutes.
Elfyn commented: "It was a difficult morning and we lost a lot of time in the first loop. We didn't have the confidence but this afternoon has been a lot better. The times have been a lot more promising and more where they should be to be honest. I think it mostly comes from being a bit more relaxed but the conditions have also been a bit more predictable which helped. We're still lacking some confidence in places, so we'll work to put that right tomorrow."