M-SPORT FORD FI­ESTA WRC

Motor Sport News - - Review: Wrc Form -

Se­bastien Ogier/julien In­gras­sia: 1st Ott Tanak/martin Jarveoja: 3rd Monte Fastest times: 7 (Ogier 3, Evans 3, Tanak 1)

Ahead of round one, M-sport’s ri­vals clung to odd tech­ni­cal is­sues early in the car’s devel­op­ment in an at­tempt to paint the Fi­esta as frag­ile. This was done partly be­cause the thing looked so tasty in test­ing.

The Bri­tish team started run­ning its full 2017 car later than any­body, and sub­se­quently put down less pre-sea­son miles. Re­li­a­bil­ity ques­tions might be raised in the com­ing events, but there’s no deny­ing the team has pro­duced a mighty quick-look­ing motor. And Ott Tanak’s Monte pace un­der­lined this.

Tanak’s get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter on as­phalt, but re­mains some­way from be­ing a Monte spe­cial­ist. The Es­to­nian would, how­ever, have won last month, had it not been for his team-mate be­ing Se­bastien Ogier and his car suf­fer­ing a wonky ig­ni­tion coil.

We all know what El­fyn Evans is ca­pa­ble of on tar, so it’s the Tanak speed that gave a real in­di­ca­tion of how strong the Ford is. He was able to dial him­self in and feel com­fort­able on roads he’s not a huge fan of. And he was able to do that while his gear­box spent a chunk of Satur­day pick­ing and mix­ing its own gears.

Ogier wasn’t com­fort­able with the car early doors. The Fi­esta needs tweak­ing and tailor­ing to Ogier, but in terms of speed, the car’s there and the driver line-up has ti­tle con­tender writ­ten all over it.

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