It was a tough day at the office for the M-Sport pairing of Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans on the third day of Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Tanak entered the day in fourth place overall, unfortunately 38 kilometres in to SS10 his Ford Fiesta RS WRC slid off the road. It would take a spirited effort from spectators to get the Estonian’s car back on the track, minus part of the front bumper and a rear wing.
An impressive team effort saw a clutch and gearbox change in the service area, taking exactly 30 minutes before Tanak took on SS11, fighting his way up to sixth fastest on the stage; Unfortunately the time lost with the SS10 off would place Tanak in twentieth place at the end of the day.
“After this morning’s disappointment it was important to take our time and rebuild the confidence.” said Tanak. “It was good to slow it down because it’s so difficult when the speed and the grip are changing so often – it’s hard to find a good rhythm.
“We’ve had some more time to relax and we’ve found some places where we can improve which is what we wanted to do. We’ve not pushed at all; just made some changes to the notes and made it through safely.”
Evans day started promising as he chased down fourth-placed Mads Ostberg and took an impressive four seconds out of his time on the final split of SS10.
Unfortunately from here it would be a little more challenging, on SS11 Evans Fiesta RS WRC clipped a wall, damaging the rear suspension. Some quick thinking and a few ratchet straps later Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt got the car through the final stage of the day without losing too much time.
“We had made the corner, but when we put the power down on the exit it was a lot more slippery than we had expected and the rear kicked out and clipped the wall. It broke a suspension arm so in a way we are very lucky to be here and to have made it back.
“It was a bit touch and go to be honest, but at least we are here. It is not ideal to have dropped two positions by all means, but it’s better than not being here at all.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson was disapointed with the problems but happy with the effort that both of his drivers put in. “I must commend both Ott and Elfyn on their sheer determination – neither were willing to accept retirement and it is that mind set which will see them go far in the future.
“Both were extremely unlucky today; but when you consider the little experience that they have of this notoriously difficult event, their speed and their attitude is very promising for the rest of the season.
“Finally I must, as always, praise our dedicated team of technicians. You never want to see them make such an extensive repair as the one they had to make today, but when you do it is an absolute pleasure to watch them at work. Our ever dedicated team are a real credit to us.”