WRC A FULL 2016
FIESTA SHOWS PACE IN FINLAND.
M-Sport’s Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC continued to show pace at Neste Rally Finland as both Mads Østberg and Ott Tänak posted fastest times through today’s legendary speed tests.
30 July 2016
After challenging for the lead in the early stages, luck has not been on Tänak’s side. Having lost more than a minute to rally leader Kris Meeke on the opening day his misfortune continued –picking up a puncture on the third test of the morning (SS15).
Combining the performance of their M-Sport run Fiesta with natural speed behind the wheel, he and co-driver Raigo Mõlder have recovered fourth position – courtesy of a series of top times throughout the day.
In the M-Sport World Rally Team, Mads Østberg was using his experience to full effect. Locked in an intense six-way fight for the final podium position, the Norwegian posted the fastest time through the first pass of Saalahti (SS16).
Continuing to post strong times, just 20 seconds separate him and co-driver Ola Fløene from a top-three finish with four stages left to contest.
Anything can happen at Rally Finland, and Østberg’s strong times have kept him in contention for a solid result.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Eric Camilli and Ben Veillas showed potential behind the wheel of their Fiesta RS WRC.
Setting a series of competitive times alongside flashes of natural speed, the Frenchmen took pleasure from the super-fast stages and continued to gain knowledge and experience before their rally came to an untimely end on Päijälä (SS14).
Carrying too much speed into a left-hand corner – the result of a misjudged pacenote – Camilli suffered a high-speed roll two kilometres into the stage. Thankfully, the strength of the Fiesta saw both driver and co-driver walk away unscathed.
With the rollcage too badly damaged to continue, he’s now fully focused on the more familiar asphalt rallies to come.
In the WRC 2 category, Elfyn Evans started the day with a point to prove. Putting yesterday’s disappointment behind him, the Welshman was keen to show what he could do behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta R5 Evo and wasted no time – posting a time 5.6 seconds faster than anyone else through the opening stage.
A series of top-times followed to propel the Welshman into a solid fourth place – ready to take advantage of any late dramas through tomorrow’s final 33.96 kilometres.
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Mads Østberg (7th) said:
“We’ve been fighting really hard today – you never give up in Finland because anything can happen. I can’t believe how close it is. At the moment we are in seventh position, but the gap to the podium is actually relatively small. Even though it’s just a short day tomorrow, we have to keep pushing and keep the pressure on. We never give up.”
Éric Camilli (DNF) said:
“My pacenote into a left-hand corner was too fast. We went into a ditch and then into the trees and rolled the car. It was a big one – a proper crash – but we are both okay which is the most important thing.
“We have proven that we have the potential to be fast here in the future. Finland and Sweden are the most difficult rallies for a Frenchman – especially a Frenchman experiencing them for the first time – so it was a positive to challenge some of the more experienced drivers this weekend. We need to remember that.
“This wasn’t the finish that we wanted, but it wasn’t a bad weekend either; and next we have a series of Tarmac rallies that I am really looking forward to. I know that I have more knowledge and more feeling with the car on that surface.
“Rallye Deutschland is my favourite event of the year. We have competed there twice before and we are really motivated to do well there.”
Elfyn Evans (4th WRC 2) said:
“It’s been a much better day for us today. We’ve been driving well and managed to keep out of trouble for the most part. We climbed ahead of the two guys in front, but the gap is too big to reach the podium on driving alone. We just need to be reliable tomorrow and wait and see if anything happens.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s been another day of highs and lows for the team. It was great to see Ott, Mads and Elfyn all post fastest times – proving that the Fiesta has the pace to challenge at all levels of competition.
“Ott had some more bad luck today, but he’s still in with a shot of the podium which is incredible when you think about how much time he has lost this weekend.
“Mads looked more comfortable today and his consistency is playing to his advantage. He’s reined in those closest to him and has every chance of a solid result tomorrow.
“People often forget just how little experience Eric has when compared to those he is competing against. Make no mistake, the times he has been setting this weekend show great potential. We all know that he has a lot to learn –and his pacenote error is evidence of that – but all of the ingredients are there.
“Elfyn was out to prove a point today, and he certainly did that with a string of fastest times over the morning loop. He’s climbed to fourth place over the course of the day, but I know he won’t be satisfied with that. He came here to challenge for the win, and I’m certain he would have done that were it not for yesterday’s disappointment.”
RESULTS AFTER SS20
Anna Louise Rudd
Media M-Sport WRT
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