Saturday 24 October 2015

Rally - Spain, Day 2

A day of mixed fortunes for the DS3 team mates. This morning, Mads Ostberg was lying in fifth place and Kris Meeke was eighth. By close of play this evening, Kris was fifth and Mads sixth. Just a couple of wee mistakes but at this level, such slip-ups are very costly.

At the overnight halt, Kris said: “We played with the set-up of the car today to find the right balance for tarmac. It’s almost like driving on a racetrack here, so the slightest change to the set-up can have a dramatic effect on the overall handling of the car. The final stage was very encouraging. We have to maintain that pace and try to bring home as many points as possible tomorrow!”

As for Mads Østberg: “We had to find the right feeling in the car this morning. We managed to improve the set-up so that we had a better balance for the second loop. I just made a little mistake on the final stage. We fought hard throughout the leg for every second and then we go and lose three by stalling just before the end of the day. It’s frustrating, but overall, I think we can be pretty happy with the day.”

So whilst the French team had a (slightly) better day, the Ford team had a bad day. Ott Tanak went off the road in the second stage this morning. Carrying too much speed into a right-hand corner, he understeered into a barrier which ripped the front-left wheel off his Fiesta RS WRC.

Two stages later, Elfyn Evans was off the road too. The Fiesta grounded on the sumpguard forcing the car to understeer off the road and down a steep embankment. Both Tanak and Evans will restart under Rally 2 regulations on Sunday.

Elfyn reflected: "Everything was looking okay and we were in the ball-park in terms of getting back into the bottom half of the top-five. Unfortunately, we became a bit unstuck on SS13. We took a cut and the car grounded on the sumpguard. We started understeering off and as soon as it did that I couldn't stop it. To make matters worse, there was a tree on the outside which we touched and that then sent us into a ditch that we couldn't get out of.”

Ott Tänak added: "We went out this morning with the same good feeling we had last night. In the end it was just one bad note – one bad note, on one corner, in 26 kilometres of corners. The note was far too optimistic and we understeered into the barrier and took the wheel off.”

As for Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson: "I can't remember the last time we had both cars fail to finish a day, but we just have to keep focused on the positives. We know that we had the speed to do well here, and both Ott and Elfyn will restart under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow. It will provide them with a good opportunity to gain more experience and more seat time so that they can head to the final round in Wales in a positive frame of mind.”

Oh yes. The lead. So who is leading the rally in Spain after Day 2? I’ll give you three guesses – and they are all correct!

Leaderboard after Day 2
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:34:56.4
2. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +54.0
3. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +56.9
4. Dani Sordo / Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:01.4
5. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +1:42.2
6. Mads Østberg / Jonas Andersson (DS 3 WRC) +1:43.7
7. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:56.5
8. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:56.5
9. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:22.9
10. Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:12.16

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