Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Team Principal Tommi Makinen says the opening day of Rally Italia Sardegna was not an easy one for the team on Friday which saw Sebastien Ogier end the day in 4th place overalll, 36s behind leader Dani Sordo and speaking following the action he said:

“It was a good start this morning. We were all fearing this first stage a little bit, which was very challenging, very narrow and we were happy to make it through with a good time. Overall, the morning loop was good: We were in third and the two cars in front had a big advantage from their start position. The afternoon was more difficult for us like we had expected. We tried what we could but we lost a bit too much time. Tomorrow should be better with a better road position. I’m looking forward to having some better grip hopefully and to try to make some good times.”

Championship leader Elfyn Evans ended the day in fifth place 51.9s behind Sordo and speaking following the action he said:

The morning was quite good for us. The first stage was particularly slippery and I was surprised on the second pass how much grip we had, and we had a good run. There was a bit more loose gravel on the second stage but overall we came through it quite OK and managed to lose not too much time. The afternoon stages had dried quite a lot since the recce and there was a lot more loose than expected and we really suffered a lot. It’s not been an easy day, which we knew would be the case. But tomorrow our road position will be better and hopefully we can look to fight with those around us.”

Kalle Rovanpera ended the day in ninth place overall, 2:32.3s behind Sorda and speaking following the action he said:

This morning we took the wrong tyre choice, with three mediums and two hards. I don’t have the experience here to know how much the tyre will wear, and it was quite tricky to drive with one hard tyre on the car all the time and in the end, we didn’t need them. I was preparing to have a better feeling in the afternoon, with some small changes to the car, but we got a steering-related issue at the start of SS5, so we had to drive slowly through both stages to bring the car back to service. Tomorrow we will have to now open the road so it’s going to be a difficult day.”

Tommi Makinen says:

It has not been an easy day for us. It was looking very good in the morning and we were in quite a strong position. Then the last two stages were very, very difficult for our drivers running at the front of the order. The stages have dried out quite a lot before the rally and this was a big disadvantage. Unfortunately, when there is a full day of rallying before the road order is changed, it counts against our team with three full-time drivers all doing very well in the championship. But we couldn’t do anything about it and we will keep fighting, and tomorrow it should be better with some cars in front of Elfyn and Seb on the road. For Kalle it will be more difficult and the team will of course investigate what happened for him.”

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