M-Sport Ford World Rally Team endured a difficult day at Rallye Deutschland. Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans had the potential to deliver a double podium this weekend, but the performance of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC will go unrewarded – Evans retiring with broken suspension and a puncture costing Ogier the chance of victory.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s been a tough day for sure. Elfyn was unlucky with his mistake as it was the sort of thing that you would normally get away with. He got caught out by some gravel and ran slightly wide into a field, but there was a big lump of concrete in the undergrowth which damaged the suspension.
“Then, just two stages later, Sébastien picked up a puncture which he had to stop and change. He and Julien did a fantastic job to change it so quickly and they were back on stage-winning pace after that, but their chance of victory is now pretty much gone.
“Realistically, we’ll only be able to climb as high as sixth place tomorrow, but there are still points to play for in the Power Stage and, as we have seen already today, anything can happen.”
OGIER AND INGRASSIA
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had been in the fight for victory this weekend. Posting a series of highly competitive stage times, the Frenchmen were keeping the lead in sight whilst their main championship rival fell further afield.
Then, on the second pass of the infamous Panzerplatte stage (SS13), disaster struck and they picked up a puncture that they had to stop and change. Losing just over a minute and a half, the World Champions made the change in impressive time and were straight back on the pace, but the damage had already been done and they end the day in an undeserving seventh place.
SS8: 4th (+1.5)
SS9: 3rd (+3.2)
SS10: 3rd (+2.4)
SS11: 6th (+2.1)
SS12: 2nd (+0.2)
SS13: 21st (+1:43.0)
SS15: 3rd (+0.5)
Sébastien Ogier (7th) said:
“We had some bad luck today. We know that this stage has a lot of stones everywhere and that it’s always a bit of a lottery whether you will pick up a puncture. Unfortunately, this time, we didn’t win that lottery.
“It was a slow puncture after seven kilometers and we had to stop and change it. After that I took some crazy risks as I had nothing to lose. I was pushing super hard to finish the day, but there isn’t so much we can do now – only some points in the Power Stage.
“We made a good effort this weekend and were doing a good job. It’s frustrating not to get the reward for that, but we will come back stronger.”
SUNINEN AND MARKKULA
Teemu Suninen is a quick learner and the young Finn is proving that again this weekend. Making his world rally car debut on asphalt, Suninen has not been too far off the pace of the leaders and continues to improve with every kilometre.
Partnered by compatriot co-driver Mikko Markkula, the Finns have regularly out-performed a number of their vastly more experienced rivals, and have already identified areas for further improvement on this surface.
SS8: 11th (+7.4)
SS9: 9th (+13.2)
SS10: 7th (+5.2)
SS11: 7th (+2.6)
SS12: 7th (+3.5)
SS13: 7th (+10.3)
SS14: 7th (+6.1)
SS15: 4th (+1.3)
Teemu Suninen (8th) said:
“It’s been a good day and the driving is starting to be on a good level now. I was able to be much closer to the fastest guys which was really good, and I know where we can be faster. That is a big positive as I already know how to make the fastest times.”
EVANS AND BARRITT
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt had been knocking on the door of a podium this weekend. Locked in an intense battle with a number of other competitors, the Brits were amongst the favourites to secure one of the top-three positions.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. Running wide through the first pass of Römerstrasse (SS11), they hit a concealed concrete block that damaged the suspension of their Ford Fiesta WRC.
With the car repaired by the M-Sport mechanics this afternoon, Evans and Barritt will return to the stages under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow – determined to salvage some points in the Power Stage.
SS8: 9th (+4.8)
SS9: 7th (+8.7)
SS10: 10th (+7.9)
Elfyn Evans (Rally 2) said:
“It didn’t go fantastically well for us today. We spun at the start of the third stage in the loop [SS10], and then on the fourth one [SS11] we hit some gravel and understeered off into a field. Unfortunately for us, there was a big concrete block on the line we took and that broke the suspension which meant we could go no further.”
ELSEWHERE IN THE TEAM
Jourdan Serderidis said:
“It has been another good day for us – apart from being a little exhausted. For an amateur amongst all these professionals, it has not been so bad at all. We’ve improved the set-up and had more confidence in the car. I must also say a big thanks to Sébastien [Ogier] who advised us about the set-up for this afternoon.”
1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:23:27.1
2. Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +43.7
3. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +44.5
4. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +52.5
5. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +58.8
6. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:50.7
7. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:51.2
8. Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:57.0
9. Mads Østberg / Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 WRC) +2:20.4
10. Craig Breen / Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +2:34.4