Ott Tänak sits in second place on Rallye Monte-Carlo after a superb performance from the Estonian driver on his first full day of competition in the Toyota Yaris WRC. All three TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team cars are in the top five, with Esapekka Lappi and Jari-Matti Latvala fighting for a place on the podium.
Tänak began the day fifth overall and 42 seconds off the lead after the opening two stages on Thursday night, but he immediately won the first of Friday’s six stages and by midday service had climbed into second place. He was fastest again on the repeat of Vitrolles-Oze, took a further chunk out of the lead gap in heavy rain on SS7, and now sits just 14.9s away from first place overnight. Lappi and Latvala enjoyed good days too and lie fourth and fifth respectively, separated by just two tenths of a second and both within 10.4s of third.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It has been a very positive day. It was an incredible performance from Ott. We are all surprised what he has done so far and how quickly he has learned about the car. It is looking very good for the future with him. Tomorrow I am sure he will be very fast because now he has more experience with the car. Our team seems to be very strong. Esapekka’s road position was not the easiest and still he showed good speed, especially in the morning, while Jari-Matti improved during the afternoon. We still have two more days and tomorrow the conditions could be difficult in the snow, but I think it’s going to be OK.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 7)
“This morning I was struggling a bit and I couldn’t get the feeling with the turning, but for the afternoon we made some adjustments on the differential and I was a lot happier. I wasn’t very confident on the standing water so I lost some time there but otherwise the car is going well now. We are in a good battle. We are very close to Esapekka now and the podium is not very far away either, so we just need to continue the momentum from today and see what happens.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“It feels very positive to end the first full day in this position. We improved a lot today, and it is nice to be increasing in confidence with every stage. I want to continue in the same way: to keep learning all the time and to understand the car more. There are many mistakes happening from others so we just need to be really clever with our driving. There is definitely no need to push any more. The rally will not be decided just by pure speed: it’s more about the consistency and smart decisions.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“I think my strategy to be careful on this rally is paying off all the time. I’ve been on the safe side today and still we are fighting for the podium, so I’m quite pleased with that. It’s been a good performance from the team so far but there is still a long way to go. The condtions may be more difficult tomorrow, with snow maybe coming, but if it is clear which tyres we should take then I think we will be OK.”
End of Day 2 (Friday):
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2h07m15.4s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +14.9s
3 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +59.7s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m09.9s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m10.1s
6 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +2m45.5s
7 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m34.6s
8 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m01.7s
9 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4m04.1s
10 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroen C3 WRC) +5m06.6s
(Results as of 18:00 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Tomorrow’s schedule is made up of five stages. Firstly, a pair of stages north of Gap is run twice, with each loop followed by service. There will then be a return to Bayons-Breziers, which was previously run as SS2 on Thursday night, before the final service of the rally. The crews then make the long drive to Monaco ready for Sunday’s conclusion.
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