M-Sport’s Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC secured a fantastic home result in the hands of Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder this weekend. Powering through the forests of Wales Rally GB, the pairing secured second place overall and M-Sport’s fourth podium of the year.
Displaying superb confidence and speed, Tänak and Mõlder were the only pairing capable of matching rally-winner Sebastien Ogier who enjoyed an advantage as the first car into the stages. With the conditions equalised by the final day running order Tänak and Ogier running consecutively on the road the Estonian showed that he had the pace to secure an elusive first victory this weekend.
Winning all of today’s six stages and claiming maximum points in the Power Stage, Tänak slashed Ogier’s lead from 33.8 seconds to a mere 10.2 seconds recording the closest finish of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship thus far. Were it not for his time loss through the second pass of Dyfnant (SS8) where 14 seconds were lost to the World Champion, Tänak would have been there proving once again that M-Sport’s Fiesta RS WRC has the pace to win.
In the M-Sport World Rally Team, Mads Østberg and Ola Fløene overcame a bizarre incident to bring their Fiesta RS WRC home in eighth place.
Unusually in Wales, co-driver Fløene suffered a suspected snake bite! The bite caused swelling to his left hand and left the Norwegian feeling less than ideal through yesterday’s opening loop. A true professional, Fløene battled through and navigated his compatriot safely through the challenging stages before seeking medical attention at the mid-day regroup.
With the swelling subsided and Fløene regaining rhythm in his pacenote delivery, the pairing were pleased with their driving and showed improved speed through the final day of competition.
Despite losing a place to a resurgent Jari-Matti Latvala, Østberg was on pace with rivals Sordo and Meeke and will be hoping for a resurgence of his own when the championship comes to a conclusion in Australia next month.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas opted for a mature approach following some substantial time loss on the opening day of competition.
With little to fight for, the Frenchmen focused on learning the stages and displayed flashes of encouraging speed. Despite their inexperience at this level, they pushed when confident and often set times which were on pace with the likes of Østberg, Sordo and Meeke.
Heading to the final round of the season, Camilli will be keen to end his rookie year on a high – building experience ahead of the next phase of his development in 2017.