Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are aiming for a podium at Rally Monte Carlo, first round of the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC). The four-time World Champions had some troubles on Friday. But it was always going to take time for them to develop a relationship with the Ford Fiesta WRC. With limited seat time prior to the event, the French pairing had to find their way in competition and that included some incidents.
Ogier got stuck in a ditch 2.5 kilometres into the SS3 and lost 40 seconds to the leading pack. That set him back to eighth from where he fought his way back with Ingrassia’s help.
Despite not being 100 percent comfortable with the set-up, the team made some positive steps over the second loop which allowed Ogier to post two fastest stage times en route to second place overall. The team accepted that performance as a hint at the potential of the crew and the Fiesta once fully synchronised.
“It’s been a tough day with some very difficult conditions which were made all the more challenging as the first car on the road. We had a moment which certainly wasn’t the start that we were looking for. But things got better later”, Sébastien Ogier explained
“I wasn’t completely happy with the set-up over the opening loop. We made some positive steps with that this afternoon. There’s still some work to do to feel completely comfortable, but we are getting there step by step.”
“We have had such a warm welcome into the team. Everyone is working extremely hard and we can see how much they want to succeed. We want to deliver that and a podium would be a really good start. For the moment, we’ll continue as we are and see what tomorrow brings.”
Ott Tanak decided early to drive his own rally and learn as much as possible. He was third at the end of the day and admitted that was unexpected.
“Of course the car felt really good in testing and we were quietly confident but you never really know until you’re out there competing against everyone else. We planned to come here and find a good, consistent rhythm and that is what we’ve done. The car is handling almost exactly as I would like it to and we’re just enjoying every minute of it. There is a little work to do before we are 100 percent where we want to be, but this is a very good start”, the Estonian said.
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) 20 January 2017