Monday 24 August 2015

Rally - Dashed hopes

The M-Sport team hoped for more than they achieved at the weekend although both crews were in the top ten at the finish.

Elfyn Evans had the potential to challenge for the top positions but was unable to sustain his impressive pace over the course of the whole rally. In the cooler morning temperatures, he and co-driver Daniel Barritt were the only crew to consistently split the leading Volkswagens. Setting the second fastest time on SS9 and the third fastest time on SS19, they were also the fastest crew through SS18 – making Evans the only man other than Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala to secure a stage win.

Unfortunately, the M-Sport man was unable to maximise the available grip in the unseasonably high temperatures that blighted the afternoon speed tests – an issue which demoted him to sixth place overall.

In the sister Fiesta RS WRC, Tänak was enjoying his first taste of a world rally car on Tarmac since this time three years ago. There was a lot to learn and the Estonian was swiftly reminded of how much respect these challenging stages demand when he was caught-out by an unexpected patch of gravel on the opening test and smacked an Armco barrier. He finally finished 8th.

Elfyn commented: "I can't say I'm satisfied with the rally as a whole, but there were a lot of positives and I was certainly satisfied with our performance on a couple of individual stages. We came very close to winning two stages – and we did win one – but we didn't get everything 100 percent right this weekend. In the mornings the pace and the feeling in the car was good but as the temperatures increased, we just didn't seem able to keep that same speed. It's clearly something we need to work on, but the potential is there and we know we can be challenging for the top positions when everything is right."

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson, commented: "I think it's fair to say that we expected a little bit more from this weekend, but we didn't get everything 100 percent perfect and that's something we need to work on ahead of Corsica. When Elfyn felt confident in the car, his pace was extremely strong and there's no doubting the huge potential he and the Fiesta have on this surface. This event was completely dominated by Sebastien and Jari-Matti, so for Elfyn to be the only other driver to secure a stage victory just goes to prove how strong that potential is. There will be a lot of hard work behind the scenes as we prepare for the next Tarmac event. We know that we have the speed, we just need to ensure that we have everything in place to sustain it over the course of a full weekend."

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