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Tanak in podium position

As M-Sport fight for Swedish success

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By Olivier Ferret

10 February 2017 - 21:18
Tanak in podium position

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja are in podium position after the first day of competition at Rally Sweden. Piloting their Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC through the snow-covered stages of both Sweden and Norway, the Estonians overcame all challenges with a perfect display of their now trademark determination.

In the sister Fiesta WRC, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia currently hold fifth place overall – just six seconds adrift of the podium despite the challenges of running as the first car on the road. Having delivered a solid performance over the opening speed tests, the Frenchmen will be eager for further gains when the action resumes tomorrow.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“This rally is notorious for close-fought competition and it seems as though this year will be no different. We have all three of our cars in the top-ten, and I’m sure that there will be some exciting battles over the next two days.

“We’ve seen a really strong afternoon from Ott. We had some small technical issues this morning which cost him some time, so to be in podium positon at the end of the day was a really strong performance.

“It was a difficult day for Sébastien running as the first car on the road but he never gives up the fight, and I’m sure he’ll be putting some pressure on the guys at the front tomorrow.”

TÄNAK AND JÄRVEOJA - THIRD OVERALL AFTER EIGHT STAGES

Determined to make their mark on the snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden, Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja have been in the running for the podium positions throughout day. Known for its closely fought battles, the Swedish fixture is living up to its name and the Estonians are in the mix for a top result.

Running as high as second overall after the first pass of Röjden (SS2), Tänak was just three seconds shy of the lead before losing confidence through the following speed test and developing an intermittent gear-selection issue.

The technicians put in a master service – changing the gearbox within the 30 minute service – and Tänak was back on the pace; despite a disadvantageous road position.

In fifth position before the final stage of the day, the Estonian showed his customary bravery one again with a huge push through Torsby 1 (SS8) – taking the stage win, and with it, third place in the overall standings.

Ott Tänak (3rd) said:

“It’s been a really difficult day. This was my first experience of being one of the guys opening the road and I never knew how hard the job was for Seb – now I can say that it is very difficult! Even with those challenges, I think we managed the day really well and I think we can be happy with our performance.

“The gaps were really close before the last stage and I pushed really hard to get the positon for tomorrow. The further back you are the better the conditions will be and I gave it everything. It was a big effort, but there will be some really fast stages tomorrow so the push will have to continue.”

OGIER AND INGRASSIA - FIFTH OVERALL AFTER EIGHT STAGES

Disadvantaged as the first car on the road, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had to contend with the worst of the conditions throughout the opening day of Rally Sweden.

As the championship leaders, the pairing have been charged with the arduous task of forging a clean line through the fresh snow – to the benefit of their rivals behind.

Having to contend with a lack of traction their times reflected the difficult task, but the Frenchmen refused to give up the fight and fought hard to remain in the battle for a strong result.

Delivering a clean and confident drive behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta WRC, Ogier and Ingrassia faced their challenges head on and close the opening day in fifth place overall – just six seconds adrift of the podium.

Sébastien Ogier (5th) said:

“We really tried everything we could, but it’s clear that the conditions have not been on our side today. Following the historic cars this afternoon was especially difficult as the first car on the road and there really wasn’t much we could do.

“I’ve been pleased with our drive and I think we did a good job with the challenges we had. Tomorrow we will have better conditions so we’re looking forward to a more enjoyable day. We weren’t able to show our true performance today, and tomorrow I think we’ll have a better indication of where we are.”

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