Sunday 2 August 2015

Rally - Highs and Lows

It wasn't the results they hoped for but M-Sport's latest Ford Fiesta WRC looks as though it has the pace to challenge the VW squad in the coming months.

But for a small mistake on Friday, Ott Tänak's pace over the rest of the rally could have netted him a podium finish.  There's no doubt the speed was there, but on Friday's first stage of the day he clipped a rock and had to drive another seven stages with a broken front-left damper.

It was a similar story for Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt who ran wide and broke their Fiesta's rear suspension on 'Finland's biggest rock' through the first pass of 'Ouninpohja' (SS4) on Friday morning.

A less determined driver would have called it a day, but Evans effected a genius repair that saw him safely through all of the stages. Using his Snap-On spanner from the in-car toolkit to reinforce the broken suspension arm, the fix lasted six stages and allowed Evans to experience the entire route – something that could prove vital in years to come.

Unfortunately, his time loss was more severe than that of his team mate, and the Welshman found himself with little hope of breaking back into the top-ten and he finished in 13th place overall.

Ott Tänak said: "It's obviously a little disappointing because I think we could have been on the podium this weekend. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on Friday morning and with no midday service it turned out to be extremely costly! We can still take a lot of positives away from the weekend. After losing as much time as we did, you're never really in the mood to push the limits and you never really find that sweet spot that brings the quick times. But even though we weren't on the limit, the times were still pretty good and that's really encouraging for the future."

Elfyn added: "Hitting a rock is never a very clever thing to do, but I think we did well to get through all of Friday's stages. I didn't know if it would be possible with six stages and broken rear suspension, but we persevered and were rewarded with some good experience from all of the stages. There's no other event on the calendar like Finland, so experience really does count for a lot and I think we can be happy with the progress we've made from this time last year. The pace was there or there abouts and I can see where there are areas for improvement. We've still got work to do, so if we can improve by half again then we'll be challenging right at the top next year."

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