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M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm have strengthened their fifth place at this weekend’s Rally Sweden – the second and only winter event in the FIA World Rally Championship – and kept the podium positions well within grasp

Improving the set-up and continuing to drive well behind the wheel of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, the Finn found more confidence through the fast corners and reined the podium to within just 5.9 seconds.

On course to secure their second top-five finish in as many events, Lappi and Ferm are learning more and more behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta and there remains all to play for through tomorrow’s closing kilometres.

In the sister M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC, Teemu Suninen and Jarmo Lehtinen were left opening the road and had to contend with a loose layer of snow on top of today’s stages. Remaining in eighth place overall, the pairing will be looking for more favourable conditions and a chance of points through tomorrow’s closing Power Stage.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“It was great to see Esapekka improving his pace today. The more time he has in the car and the more time he has to explore the set-up the better he gets – and that’s very positive for the future. He’s taken some time out of Thierry to improve his fifth place today, and also moved closer to the podium positions. Of course 5.9 seconds is a lot to gain over a single stage, but you never know what can happen and we’ll certainly keep pushing until the end. Teemu didn’t have the best road position today and it’s so hard to push the limits on a rally as fast as this when you’re not in a fight. But he had a good run through the Power Stage in Monte, so let’s see what the conditions are like tomorrow and if he can do the same in Sweden.”

Esapekka Lappi (5th) said:

“It’s been a very positive day. We made some changes to improve the set-up overnight and I was really pleased with the driving. This was a good step forward, and it’s something that we can use in the future too. I’m learning all the time the little things and small details that affect the feeling and allow you to push more. We’re still not quite up there with the top times, but we’re getting closer and closer. We just have the one stage tomorrow but nothing is over yet. With 4.5 seconds behind and 5.4 seconds ahead it will be a big push to the end for everyone!”

Teemu Suninen (8th) said:

“We didn’t have the best road position today, but like yesterday we’re still struggling to find the top pace. The first two stages weren’t too bad, but then in the third one I had a few big slides and took it carefully after that. Tomorrow we just have the Power Stage, so let’s see what the conditions are like and see what we can do in there.”

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