Ott Tänak jumps to fifth in Finland

Ott Tänak jumps to fifth in Finland

01.08.2015: M-Sport World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak jumped – quite literally – back

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak jumped – quite literally – back into Rally Finland’s top-five today after an intelligent approach paid dividends following yesterday’s costly mistake.

Having damaged the front-left damper of their Ford Fiesta RS WRC when colliding with a rock at the end of ‘Päijälä 1’ (SS3), Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder were relegated outside of the top-ten.

It was a bitter blow for the Estonians who undoubtedly had the pace to challenge for the podium this weekend, but they regrouped brilliantly with a highly intelligent approach.

Having only contested the event’s fast and technical stages with the power and performance of a world rally car on one previous occasion, Tänak focused on perfecting his notes and lines for the years to come.

After losing time and knowing that a fight for the top positions would demand a drive on the limits; he and Mõlder opted to err on the side of caution through the eight stages that made up today’s 131.04 competitive kilometres.

Despite focusing on gaining the vital experience required to conquer the Finnish roads, the Estonians’ times were highly encouraging – securing three fourth fastest times as well as a further three third fastest times throughout the day.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta, Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt were also ruing a mistake through yesterday’s stages.

Damaging the rear suspension after a heavy impact with what has been dubbed ‘Finland’s biggest rock’ on the first pass of ‘Ouninpohja’ (SS4), the pairing affected a genius fix which saw them back to service, albeit with substantial time loss.

Putting the error well and truly behind them, they perfected their pacenotes and highlighted various areas for improvement – developing the speed they had shown at the start of the event to set the fourth fastest time through a rain soaked second pass of ‘Jukojärvi’ (SS16).

Thanks to their determination and intelligence, both drivers are now on course to secure manufacturer points for the team with just two passes of ‘Myhinpää’ left to run.

 Ott Tänak (5th) said:
“After such a frustrating day yesterday, it has been a good one for us today. After yesterday’s disappointment, there was no need to push the limits so we were fairly careful without taking any risks.

“ We were basically just perfecting the notes because I’ve only done this event in a world rally car once before and that was three years ago! Experience is really important here so we focused on getting that; but it was good to see that our times weren’t too far away, even when we were taking it really steady.

“I really didn’t expect to be sitting in fifth place tonight, but that just goes to show how much respect you need to show these stages. Hopefully we can continue tomorrow as we have today and bring home some good points for the team.”

Elfyn Evans (14th) said: 
“It’s not been a bad day by all means. Okay the pace wasn’t quite as good as it was at the start of the rally, but after driving with a broken suspension for almost all of yesterday it was difficult to get into the perfect rhythm and it’s still a massive improvement on last year.

“We’ve got the mileage and the pacenotes from all of the stages, and the feeling in the car has been really good. After the experience we’ve gained this weekend and the pace we were able to show without really pushing, I’m confident that we’ll be in a position to fight for the top results next year.”

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“I don’t think Ott [Tänak] expected to be in fifth place this evening, but he deserves it. He set some good times, but he also drove cleanly and cleverly without taking any risks which is really encouraging.

“Elfyn [Evans] too displayed some good pace today. It was always going to be a bit more difficult for him to get up to speed having had to drive with broken rear suspension for most of yesterday, but the potential is clearly there.

“Both drivers have gained experience of all of the stages, which is vastly important; and as a result I think they’ll both be capable of fighting for the top positions next year.”

Anna Louise Rudd- photos M-Sport


01.08.2015 / MaP

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