M-Sport World Rally Team: 2015 RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada
M-Sport World Rally Team looked on course to secure a top position at last weekend’s RallyRACC Catalunya Costa Daurada, but when Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans failed to finish Saturdays stages the Spanish fixture turned into a fight of a different kind. Since Rallye Monte-Carlo 2002, the manufacturer Fords have never failed to finish outside of the points. With 195 consecutive points finishes (as of this year’s Tour de Corse), it’s an unbroken record that the team holds dear and were determined not to lose.
Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder proved that the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC has the pace to challenge at the top. Claiming more stage victories than any other crew, the Estonians ended the first day in third position with three stage wins to their name. Heading into the longest stage of the morning (SS11), it looked as though the Estonian had well and truly regained his Tarmac pace setting the fastest time through split section three but he was not to reach the flying finish. An overly optimistic pacenote was the culprit. Carrying too much speed into a right-hand corner, he understeered into the barrier which ripped the front-left wheel from his Fiesta. It was a devastating blow but he, and the team, took comfort from the fact the speed was there.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt showed a marked improvement on gravel and had the better of their championship rivals throughout much of the opening day. As the action turned to his preferred surface, the Welshman built pace and confidence with each new kilometre and it looked as though he would have every chance of fighting for the top-five positions. Unfortunately, the opportunity never came. Taking an ambitious cut through SS13, the Fiesta grounded on the sumpguard forcing the car to understeer off the road and down a steep embankment. Returning for the final day of competition, Evans had one goal securing a world championship point to maintain the team’s unbroken record. Mission accomplished, M-Sport claimed three manufacturer points bringing their total to 196 FIA World Rally Championship events in the points.30th October 2015