Determined to make their mark on the snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden, Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja have been in the running for the podium positions from the beginning of the race.
Tänak was just three seconds shy of the lead before developing an intermittent gear-selection issue.
The technicians put in a master service and changed the gearbox within the 30 minute service. Tänak was back on the pace. He was fifth in the overall standings with one stage to go. Then the Estonian showed his bravery with a huge push through Torsby 1 (SS8) – taking the stage win, and with it, third place in the overall standings.
Ott Tänak said:
“It’s been a really difficult day. This was my first experience of being one of the guys opening the road and I never knew how hard the job was for Seb – now I can say that it is very difficult! Even with those challenges, I think we managed the day really well and I think we can be happy with our performance.
“The gaps were really close before the last stage and I pushed really hard to get the positon for Saturday. The further back you are the better the conditions will be and I gave it everything. It was a big effort, but there will be some really fast stages so the push will have to continue.”
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had the same complaint as most of the time in 2016 – they were first on the road. They preferred a clean drive and were fifth at the end of the day.
Sébastien Ogier said:
“We really tried everything we could, but it’s clear that the conditions have not been on our side. Following the historic cars in the afternoon was especially difficult as the first car on the road and there really wasn’t much we could do.
“I’ve been pleased with our drive and I think we did a good job with the challenges we had. We will have better conditions so we’re looking forward to a more enjoyable Saturday. We weren’t able to show our true performance, and the next day I think we’ll have a better indication of where we are.”
— M-Sport (@MSportLtd) 10 February 2017