Esapekka Lappi, the new face at M-Sport Ford World Rally Team this year is currently the team’s front-runner as he holds on to fifth overall after today’s two loops.
Lappi is keen to chase down his best career result at Rallye Monte-Carlo in WRC this weekend, he had hoped to move closer to the leading pack during the day but was unable to make his mark on the tricky stages.
“It has been quite a tough day for us. We’re learning a lot of new things, but still we were expecting to be a bit closer,” Lappi said.
“We wanted to close the gap, but we’ve been consistently losing the same amount to the top guys stage after stage. We’ll work with the team to understand where we’re losing and how to find a solution, and hopefully we can be better tomorrow.”
Teemu Suninen, who had to restart the rally today after his transmission failure yesterday, struggled to commit through the morning loop.
He set some fastest split-times on the afternoon loop as the conditions became consistent and the pace got improved significantly, Suninen sits currently in sixteenth place overall after the day.
“After what happened yesterday, today was just about driving through the stages and getting the experience. Suninen said.
“It was tricky with the conditions this morning as they had changed quite a lot from when the route note crews went through, but it was better this afternoon and we were able to make some different choices with the tyres which should give us good knowledge for the future.”
There was less fortune for Gus Greensmith today on the opening-stage as he put his car into a ditch after a spin, they stumbled on some problems to get the car back on to the road to continue the rally and were forced to retire the car for the day. Greensmith will restart his rally again tomorrow morning.
“We’re still not where we want to be, but you can see in some of the splits that the speed is there. Richard Millener, Team Principal said.
“We’re just losing too much to the top guys in some of the trickier sections and need to understand why that is. The potential is there and we know what Esapekka and Teemu are capable of – we just need to keep at it and hopefully we’ll see an improvement tomorrow.
In the WRC2 class for factory R5 cars, Adrien Fourmaux started his day where he left off yesterday evening. He claimed four out of six stage wins today and was on course to recover the lead before a second puncture through the second pass of Curbans – Venterol on stage 6.
“Elsewhere in WRC 2, we’ve seen another impressive performance from Adrien. Setting the fastest time through four of today’s six stages he continues to prove his speed as well as the performance of the Fiesta R5 MkII; and I think he’s going to be one to watch as the season continues,” Millener added.