M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen continue to hold podium position at this weekend’s Rally Italia Sardegna.
Having shown speed behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC with three stage victories yesterday, the Flying Finns were all about consistency today.
Posting a top-three time on all of today’s six stages – including two second-fastest times this afternoon – they consolidated their third position and are on course to secure Suninen’s second FIA World Rally Championship podium – and Lehtinen’s 70th!
Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin also had a strong day behind the wheel of their Fiesta and reclaimed fourth place ahead of tomorrow’s closing kilometres.
Locked in a three-way battle for the position, it was the Welshman who came out on top to secure a 7.9 second advantage going into tomorrow’s final day.
The gap should have been bigger after he lost more than five seconds in the dust of a recovering Kris Meeke, but it remains all to play for and Evans is on course to secure another strong result.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s been another really good day for us with both cars still up there challenging for the top results. Teemu showed great speed yesterday, and his consistency has been really impressive today – never out of the top-three on all six stages.
“He wanted to go for it tomorrow, but I think we’ll rein him in a little bit. He’s in a really strong position right now, and 17 seconds is a lot to gain on what are some really technical stages tomorrow. But anything can happen and as long as he keeps his focus, who knows!
“Elfyn also had another good day and came out on top in what was a pretty intense fight for fourth. It was a shame that he lost some time with the dust on the last stage, because with Mikkelsen just 7.9 seconds behind that’s going to be one of the most exciting battles tomorrow. But he’ll keep fighting and we’ll keep pushing for the best result.”
Teemu Suninen (3rd) said:
“I think we can be really happy with our performance today. The pace has been really solid all day and we were in the top-three on all of the stages.
“Dani [Sordo] is still some seconds away, but let’s see what we can do. We’ll try to catch him if we can, but I’ll still be happy with third position.
“Also things with Jarmo are working really well – we have spent 14 hours together in the car today and we’re still smiling so that’s good!”
Elfyn Evans (4th) said:
“It’s been an okay day for us. I was a bit disappointed with the speed in some places, but overall it’s been fairly positive and we’re back up to fourth place.
“It’s going to be a close fight with Andreas tomorrow so it was a shame to lose some time with the dust on the last stage. It was coming and going with light dust in some places and thick dust in others where we had to completely slow down.
“Everyone else had a clean run, so let’s see what happens with that. Whatever the outcome, it’s still going to be close, so we’ve got to keep pushing. It’s another tricky day tomorrow, but we’ll give it our best and hopefully come away with another strong result.”
1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:04:10.3
2. Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +25.9
3. Teemu Suninen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +42.9
4. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:25.4
5. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:33.3
6. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2:32.4
7. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferme (Citroen C3 WRC) +2:58.3
8. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:53.3