M-Sport Ford World Rally team’s Elfyn Evans used an aggressive afternoon tyre strategy in Monte Carlo on Friday to help him and co-driver Scott Martin to tighten their grip on sixth place overall in the opening event of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship season.

Speaking following the action, Evans said:

We had a pretty good day behind the wheel, but were maybe just a little bit too brave on the tyre choice this afternoon. It’s all part of the game and it was certainly nice to get a feeling for the car on pure Tarmac with full Tarmac tyres again [on SS7]. The rest of the day has been pretty tricky and we lost a bit too much time on the icy sections, but that’s what this rally is all about. We’re still here, and we’ll keep at it tomorrow.

Teemu Suninen is back in action following a disappointing day on Thursday and spent day two getting used to this legendary event. Speaking following the action, the Finn said:

Of course I always want to be faster, but I think we have had a good day getting through all of the kilometres and learning a lot about this rally. We took four slick and two studded tyres this afternoon which might have been a bit of a risk. On the first stage there was a long snow section – about seven or eight kilometres – and we lost a lot of time there; but on the other hand we were fourth fastest on the next stage where I would say we had the best possible tyre choice

Pontus Tidemand was forced to retire for the day after breaking the front left wish bone. Speaking following the action he commented by saying:

On the inside of a corner I was just following the line, but there was something there and it broke the wishbone. I don’t know what it was, but it was the same corner where Esapekka [Lappi] also had some damage. Before that the pace was getting better and better. It will take some time to get there, but I felt like everything was going in the right direction. For sure we are just here to learn, and we plan to continue that tomorrow.

M-Sport Ford WRC Team Principal Richard Millener commented on Friday’s action saying:

We’ve seen another strong performance from Elfyn and Scott today. We decided to take a bit of a risk with the tyre choice this afternoon – losing time in the first stage but then setting the second fastest time on the second. In hindsight, we didn’t get the combination quite right for the last stage but it’s still been a positive afternoon.

“The conditions for tomorrow look tricky again and hopefully there’ll be an opportunity to take some more time back. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and see how far up the leader board we can get.

“Teemu had a much better day – learning the rally and setting the fourth fastest time with his slick tyres on SS6 – and you could see how much Pontus was improving both his pace and his confidence. At one point this afternoon he was the third quickest man in the stage which was pretty impressive, but then he just got caught out which was a real shame.

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