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FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ( WRC 2015): M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM- TÄNAK SHINES WITH NEW FORD FIESTA RS WRC

WRC A FULL 2015

TÄNAK SHINES WITH NEW FORD FIESTA RS WRC.

VF5

22 May 2015

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak showcased the performance of the new-evolution Ford Fiesta RS WRC today. The Estonian holds fourth place at the end of Rally de Portugal’s first full day; within touching distance of a podium position.

Unfortunately there was less good fortune for Elfyn Evans whose day came to an untimely end due to an electrical issue.

A string of bad luck may have blighted Tänak at recent events, but there was no sign of that today – he and co-driver Raigo Mõlder looking at one behind the wheel of their Ecoboost-powered Fiesta RS WRC.

Unfortunately there was less good fortune for Elfyn Evans whose day came to an untimely end due to an electrical issue.

A string of bad luck may have blighted Tänak at recent events, but there was no sign of that today – he and co-driver Raigo Mõlder looking at one behind the wheel of their Ecoboost-powered Fiesta RS WRC.

Comfortable and confident behind the wheel of their new charge, the times came naturally to the Estonians. Setting a number of top-three stage times, they find themselves a mere 1.8 seconds adrift of a podium position and just 17 seconds shy of the lead at the end of the day.

With more than 200 kilometres left to run, there remains all to play for but Tänak has already proven the potential both he and the new Fiesta have to offer.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt looked set to make a similarly impressive start to their rally. Setting a good pace through the first test of the morning (SS2), the British pairing were holding their own against the championship leaders – more than three seconds up on both Sebastian Ogier and Mads Østberg at the final split point. But it wasn’t to be as the Welshman hit trouble just three kilometres from the stage end.

The issue arose from the throttle pedal fly-by-wire – a tried and tested part carried over from the previous homologation. Diagnosing the problem with his engineers, Evans confirmed that his technical skills are just as good as his driving skills and affected a temporary repair that saw him through the remaining two speed tests and back to service.

Unfortunately, he was out of time and had no option but to accept Rally 2 regulations. The Fiesta RS WRC was fully repaired by M-Sport’s team of technicians and Evans will be back on the stages tomorrow.

Ott Tänak (4th) said:

“I have really enjoyed today. The car suits me and I’m happy with the handling and the balance which makes the driving really easy. We’ve had a good rhythm and it was great to see that the times have been pretty good without having to push the limit at all!

“We’re very close to the guys ahead but there will be some more tough stages tomorrow. We have to approach it the same way we approached today; with the same speed and the same feeling. But if the feeling is anything like it was today, I see no reason why we can’t set some more good times tomorrow.”

Elfyn Evans (93rd) said:

“It was all going to plan but unfortunately we had an issue with the throttle towards the end of SS2 – with the fly-by-wire. The engineers talked us through various tests to get the car going and eventually we did manage to fix it but it took too long and we ran out of time.

“The really unfortunate thing is that it wasn’t a new part. It’s something that’s very much tried and tested but it’s just one of those things. It was a relatively easy fix for the technicians and we’ll be back under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow.

“We need to look at the positives and if you look at our pace – and also Ott’s [Tänak] pace – I think it’s clear to see that we have made a step forward in terms of performance. Looking at those with a similar road position to us, I think we were setting a pretty good pace.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“I’m really pleased with the debut of the new car and extremely happy for Ott [Tänak] after what has been a difficult start to the season. To be 17 seconds behind Jari-Matti [Latvala] at the end of the first leg – from the same position on the road – shows that this is definitely his best performance of the year so far.

“We’ve always known that Ott [Tänak] has a huge amount of potential. We’ve seen that today and we’ll be looking to keep the pressure on the guys ahead tomorrow.

“The sad thing about Elfyn’s [Evans] problem was that it wasn’t actually anything to do with the new car. It was a part that was carried over from the old car – part of the fly-by-wire controller on the throttle pedal itself.

“Of course it was disappointing for everyone, but the positive thing is that he was showing good speed up until that point and managed to get the car fixed to gain experience of all three stages.”

DRIVER STATISTICS
AFTER SECTION THREE OF RALLY DE PORTUGAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Rudd
Media M-Sport WRT
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