M-Sport’s Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC challenged for the lead of Wales Rally GB today – fighting at the top of the time sheets on the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
In the hands of Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder, the number 12 Fiesta was the only entrant capable of getting close to rally leader Sebastien Ogier – securing two stage victories and being within touching distance of the World Champion.
A puncture on the final stage of the day (SS8) may have seen Tänak fall further adrift, but he still holds a comfortable second place with two days of challenging stages left to contest.
The tricky conditions have suited the Estonian perfectly – proving how much he has developed over the past 12 months as well as M-Sport’s ability to produce winning-machinery year-on-year. And with all to play for, a home victory remains well within the team’s grasp.
In the M-Sport World Rally Team, Mads Østberg and Ola Fløene find themselves comfortably inside the top-ten in a solid seventh place overall.
As technical issues and punctures hindered a number of crews throughout the field, the Norwegians put their experience to good use and kept their Fiesta well clear of trouble.
Having got through the opening day unscathed, Østberg will be looking for more of the same tomorrow – coupled with progressive pace which could see him climb the standings as a result.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, luck has not been on Eric Camilli’s side as the Frenchman suffered two punctures over the opening loop (one on SS1 and another on SS3).
With just one spare, he and co-driver Benjamin Veillas had no option but to persevere and limit the time loss as best they could through the morning’s final speed test (SS4).
Making it back to the safety of the remote tyre fitting zone in Newtown, their Fiesta was clad with a fresh set of Michelin’s soft compound tyres and the afternoon yielded better fortune as the pairing climbed five places.
Keen to continue their progression and gain positions as the event continues, Camilli is looking forward to increasing his knowledge and understanding tomorrow.