Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team’s Sebastien Ogier says that he hopes he can carry the momentum he gained from the opening day of action of ACI Rally Monza on Thursday into Friday as he ended the day 0.5s ahead of Hyundai Motorsports Thierry Neuville.

Speaking following the action, Ogier said:

Like expected, in shakedown already this morning the grip was not that high. The muddy sections especially get trickier as more cars go through. Shakedown was about controlling the feeling in the car and managing the tyres a bit, because we don’t have so many of the fastest option for the weekend. As for the first stage this afternoon, I’m always happy to set a good time like we did. It was only four kilometres so there’s still a long, long way to go, but so far the feeling is good and I hope we can carry on like this tomorrow.

Elfyn Evans who goes into the weekend with a 14 point lead in the championship goes into Friday in fourth place, 2.7s behind Ogier and speaking following the action he said:

“It was a difficult start on the first run in shakedown this morning: I got caught out with the level of grip and picked up a bit of damage. But the team got that fixed and after that we worked through some different tyre options and settings and I think we found some small improvements. In the first stage this afternoon maybe I was a bit careful, but overall it all went quite OK and I believe we can be competitive over the weekend. It will be difficult again tomorrow: With all these stages around the circuit, the biggest thing is going from asphalt onto gravel onto mud, and also the asphalt itself is changing in grip quite a lot, so it’s all about reading that grip.”

Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera ended the day in fifth place overall, 3 seconds behind Ogier and speaking following the action he said:

Shakedown was a nice chance to get the feeling, and then the first stage was just about getting through quite safely and trying to see the conditions. When it’s wet the racetrack is quite slippery, but then when we go off track there are some really narrow parts with grass, mud and gravel, and when you go onto these parts with a car set up for asphalt, you have to be really careful. Tomorrow will be interesting if it’s going to rain. I know it’s going to be really challenging with my experience but I try to be as quick as possible and try to bring the points for the team.

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