On what is his first taste of a WRC machjine on Rally Austrlia stages, Ott Tänak set some encouraging times but a stall and a spin on SS4 set the M-Sport team leader back. He reported back to the team that something didn't feel right and the transmission was changed on his Fiesta RS WRC, in an impressive 13 minutes, to ensure there were no potential problems and Tänak ended the day in eighth place.
Elfyn Evans reported similar issues and lacking in feeling and confidence, the Welshman's times were down on what was expected with worse to come. He spun and hit a bank on the first pass of 'Newry Long' (SS4), and picked up a left-rear puncture which cost him more than a minute to the leading pack.
Ott Tänak commented: "Some stages have been quite good today but unfortunately we made a few little mistakes and I was struggling with the car for the last few stages this afternoon. We know what we need to do to improve and even though this is my first time here in a world rally car we still need to push hard. My target is higher than where we are at the moment so we want to climb higher. We know that we and the car have the potential to go faster, so we just have to go out there and prove it tomorrow."
Elfyn Evans added: "It's fair to say that we have really struggled today. The spin and the puncture [on SS4] obviously didn't help, but I've mainly been lacking the confidence and the feeling to drive like we know we can. If you have the confidence, then the times rocket up. Unfortunately it's going in the opposite direction for us at the moment. I'm not 100 percent happy, that's affecting the level of confidence and that's affecting the times in turn. We just need to look at everything for tomorrow and try again. I know that I can be better than this so we need to go out there, give it all we've got, and see what happens."