In a very successful day for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, Juho Hänninen led the rally in the morning, while Esapekka Lappi set three fastest stage times: including a Yaris WRC one-two on SS7 this afternoon. Today’s action covered eight stages, with all three drivers finishing the first full day in the provisional points.
Jari-Matti Latvala is fourth overnight, despite being handicapped by running third on the road. Having gone fastest on SS3 this morning to lead the rally, Hänninen is sixth overall, after going slightly off on the final stage of the day while running second. Lappi ends the day in eighth, having set his first fastest stage times on only his second rally in the Yaris WRC, despite a couple of small problems.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“As we expected it was a very tough day today, with high temperatures that are a real challenge not just for the cars but also for the drivers and the tyres. But it was also one of the most positive days that we have had: Juho drove a perfect rally before being caught out by a small mistake on the last stage, Esapekka set three fastest stage times, which is absolutely incredible, and Jari-Matti is right in the fight with still a long way to go. Thanks to everyone for their hard work, now we begin to see some of the rewards.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“In the morning, I found the stages quite slippery and there was a lot of dust. Then on the third stage of the day we had an impact on the sump guard and this broke the starter motor, so I had to be careful not to stall the car, as there would be no way to start again. We fixed that at service and then in the afternoon we had no problems apart from one very strange thing: the rally plate on the bonnet came off and it was flapping around in front of me, so that was very distracting. But I’m happy with our performance in the afternoon after we were a bit up and down in the morning: it’s going to be a big fight tomorrow and I feel confident that we’re going to be right in the middle of it.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“Close to the finish of the final stage there was a slippery braking area near a bridge: I lost the rear of the car and it span and then I hit the front against a fence. That broke some radiator pipes but we were able to fix it and come to service. It’s a pity as before that it was a good day with no severe problems. Even though conditions were slippery, I felt that I had a lot of traction, so this shows that the work we have done with the dampers has been very effective. In the afternoon I backed off a bit on the particularly rough and rutted sections to try and be safe.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“I’m surprised how today went: I really didn’t expect us to be able to do the times that we were setting. Especially in the morning, as we had no second gear: so maybe we only need five gears to win stages! I changed the set-up completely at service in the middle of the day and I had a much better feeling in the afternoon; the car felt perfect and that’s why I was able to set those times, even though we had a problem with a front-left damper during the second loop of stages.”
End of day 2:
1 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1h31m02.6s
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8.2s
3 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) +9.5s
4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +9.8s
5 Mads Ostberg/Ola Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +14.7s
6 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström (Toyota Yaris WRC) +38.0s
7 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +41.0s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m05.3s
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Citroen C3 WRC) +1m57.9s
10 Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5) +4m08.0s
(Results as of 21:30 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Tomorrow’s itinerary includes the best-known stage of the rally: Monte Lerno, which contains the famous ‘Micky’s Jump’. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t actually named after Italy’s two-time World Rally Champion Miki Biasion (although his co-driver, Tiziano Siviero, is a consultant to this event, in charge of designing the route). Instead, the jump was named after a local man, known as Micky, who originally built it on the stage.
Tomorrow only has six stages but it's the longest day of the rally in terms of kilometres: 625.42 kilometres in total, including 143.16 kilometres of stages. It’s a particularly early start for the crews, who go into first service at 05:00 before heading off for two loops of three stages, separated by service at midday in Alghero. The final service halt of the day is at 19:14, leaving just four stages to complete the rally on Sunday.
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