Defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier leads the way at home at the end of day 2 in Rallye Monte Carlo for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team following day 2 of the opening WRC event of the 2018 season.
Oger who leads the way by 14.9s from his former M-Sport team Ott Tanak who made the move to Toyota Gazoo Racing over the winter commented by saying:
Today was not so bad – and it’s always good to be in front at the end of the day – but it’s true that the afternoon was not the best for us. We lost almost 40 seconds due to a spin which put us in the ditch, and I have to thank the guys who helped get us out.
“It was a shame as we would have had quite a comfortable lead without that. Now we have to fight with Ott [Tänak] and the battle is definitely on with the gap being so small. We’ll have to be on it right from the start and be clever with our tyre choices as there will be no room for error.
Bryan Bouffier lived up to his reputation for being a Monte Carlo specialist and he ended the day in seventh place overall. Speaking following his day in the car he commented by saying:
“I’m really enjoying driving this car on these stages. We still have a long way to go before we reach the limit of the car, but the feeling is better and we’re in the right range for our objectives. There’s still a long way to go, and anything can happen, so we’ll keep focused and see where we are at the end of the rally.”
Elfyn Evans who has stepped up to the second Ford Fiesta WRC for 2018, replacing Ott Tanak is currently in eighth place overall and speaking following his day in the car, the Welshman commented by saying:
It’s been an okay day for us with two stage wins, but not perfect. We’re in a bit of a battle with Thierry [Neuville] now, although it’s not the battle I wanted to be in this weekend. I’m sure Thierry will push hard like always, and for sure it will make for a bit of excitement tomorrow. It will be an interesting day, so let’s wait and see what we get.
M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson commented by saying:
It’s fantastic to be here in the lead and to see both Sébastien and Elfyn proving the pace of the Fiesta with a number of stage victories. But we cannot forget that this is Rallye Monte-Carlo and that there is still a very long way to go.
“With more stage wins than anyone else, Sébastien is delivering another fantastic drive – although we have to admit that we were pretty lucky this afternoon! He made a very simple mistake but thanks to the quick thinking of the fans we didn’t lose too much time. It puts us under a bit of pressure for tomorrow which won’t be easy, but Sébastien has the speed and the experience on his side.
“Elfyn has had a much better day after what was a really unlucky start last night. With the puncture on the opening stage he lost more than three minutes, but has refocused and shown some great speed – especially when the conditions were at their most challenging.
“Bryan also hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s making his debut with the Fiesta WRC in less than ideal circumstances, but using all of his experience and learning more about the car with every stage.