WRC A FULL 2016
M-SPORT PACE GOES UNREWARDED.
M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli both showed some impressive pace during the second day of competition at Rally Italia Sardegna, but their speed was to go cruelly unrewarded.
11 June, 2016
The Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC was the car to beat over the morning loop – securing two out of a possible three stage wins and racking up five top-three stage times.
Piloting the number six Fiesta, Camilli was repaying the team’s faith in his raw talent and ability. On what is only the 12th gravel rally of his entire career, he set a sensationally consistent pace and was the only driver to post a top-three time through each of the morning’s stages.
Narrowly missing out on his first stage victory through the first pass of Monte di Ala’ (SS10), he and co-driver Benjamin Veillas were delighted with their performance and rightly so.
Were it not for a technical issue through yesterday’s competitive action, the pairing could have been knocking on the door of their first FIA World Rally Championship podium but will take a wealth of confidence, knowledge and experience away from this event.
Also having to draw on the positives – of which there were many – were Østberg and co-driver Ola Fløene. With their issues from the previous rallies fully resolved, the Norwegians were back on pace and much closer to the speed that has come to be expected.
Although disadvantaged as only the third car on the road, they set a stunning time through the first pass of Monte Lerno (SS12) – posting the fastest time to bring themselves just 0.3 seconds shy of the top-three.
Unfortunately, whilst battling for their third podium of the year, they clipped a rock 22 kilometres into the final stage of the day (SS15) and broke the front-right driveshaft. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to complete the stage and forced to retire from the event as the broken shaft caused damage to the engine.
Regardless of the cruel outcome, the team can take a number of positives away from this weekend and will be determined to make amends when the championship continues at next month’s Rally Poland.
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Éric Camilli (7th) said:
“It has been a really great day for us. We were determined to put yesterday’s disappointment behind us and we definitely did that. When I got to the end of the first stage I genuinely had no words. To set a time like that was a big objective for my life and I never expected it to come so soon.
“Then, we were able to set another third fastest time this afternoon [SS15] which proved that we can consistently fight with the best drivers. This was a huge positive for us. We know that we still have areas to improve, but I am really happy. I want to thank my team for believing in me and we will work hard to continue this level of progression.”
Mads Østberg (DNF) said:
“We hit a rock over a crest and that broke the front-right driveshaft. We managed to continue with rear-wheel drive, but right before the finish the broken shaft caused some damaged to the engine and we had to stop completely and park up.
“It’s really disappointing as we were on course to fight for a podium that the whole team really deserved. We resolved the issues that we had on the previous events and had a car that worked perfectly. We were in a position to fight for the top times and really wanted to take the fight with Seb [Ogier] down to the very last stage.
“Unfortunately, this is the game that we are in. The roads are very rough here, and these things can happen. But one thing is for sure, we will be back fighting in Poland.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“This is proving to be a rally of missed opportunities for us, but there are many positives that we can take from the weekend.
“Firstly, Éric’s performance has been absolutely fantastic and he is already starting to show the promise that prompted us to put him behind the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC. His speed and consistency over the morning loop were far beyond anything we expected this early in the season and it is extremely promising for the future.
“It was also great to see Mads back up to speed and his stage win through the first pass of Monte Lerno [SS12] was very impressive – especially when you consider that he was running as only the third car on the road.
“He was on course to challenge for another podium finish but clipped a rock that damaged the suspension on the very final stage [SS15]. He’ll be disappointed, but I know he’ll be happy with the speed and back fighting in Poland.”
– ENDS –
RESULTS AFTER SS15
Anna Louise Rudd
Media M-Sport WRT
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina
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