M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin hold a solid sixth place after Rallye Monte-Carlo’s opening speed tests – their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC just three seconds shy of the top-four.
Delivering a clean and tidy drive through the challenging conditions that typify this legendary event’s opening night stages, the British pairing are primed for a full day of action tomorrow.
Finding their feet on their maiden outing with the top-specification Fiesta, Pontus Tidemand and Ola Fløene hold a top-ten position and are gaining the vital knowledge and experience needed to progress their skills at this level.
Unfortunately, there was less good news for Teemu Suninen and Marko Salminen as their evening come to an end just three kilometres into the first stage. Caught out by the treacherous conditions, the pairing slid off the road and became stuck in a ditch.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“Elfyn and Scott delivered a solid drive through some really tricky conditions which sets them up nicely for tomorrow – just three second shy of fourth place and 30 seconds adrift of the podium. And as everyone knows, there is a still a very long way to go with all to play for.
“Pontus and Ola are also doing exactly what they need to do – delivering a clean drive and taking their time to build their pace. I think everyone could see how much Pontus was enjoying the car and how much he wanted to push, but he’s being clever and ensuring he gets the experience he needs.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t the same story for Teemu and Marko. These stages always catch someone out and on this occasion it was Teemu – caught out by a particularly icy section. We’ll get the car fixed tonight, and he can come back tomorrow – focused on learning the stages without any pressure.”
Elfyn Evans (6th) said:
“It’s been a typical start to Rallye Monte-Carlo with some really challenging conditions. We could have gone harder for sure, and I was kicking myself in a few places, but we delivered a clean run and are in a reasonably good position going into tomorrow – which is always the most important thing.”
Pontus Tidemand (10th) said:
“This car is amazing to drive, so I have to be clever and stop myself from pushing too hard! I really want to take the maximum, but I have to be careful as I need the experience from this rally and want to learn as much as I can.”
1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 26:33.0
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C3 WRC) +9.1
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +14.3
4. Esapekka Lapp / Janne Ferme (Citroen C3 WRC) +45.2
5. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +46.4
6. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +48.2
7. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +53.8
8. Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +55.2
9. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +59.6
10. Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:41.1