WRC Welshman Elfyn Evans leads Rally Poland after opening Mikolajki special stage
ORLEN 74TH RALLY POLAND, June 29- July 2, 2017
2017 FIA World Rally Championship, round 8
For immediate release
Thursday, June 29th, 2017
WELSHMAN ELFYN EVANS FASTEST IN OPENING MIKOLAJKI STAGE IN POLAND
MIKOLAJKI (Poland): M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt snatched the outright lead in the four-day Orlen 74th Rally Poland after the opening timed super special stage at Mikolajki Arena on Thursday evening.
On a slippery and drying surface, after heavy rain during the afternoon, the Welsh Ford Fiesta WRC driver carded a time of 1min 44.4sec (0.5 seconds outside the stage record) on DMACK tyres to edge into an advantage of 0.8 seconds over Belgium’s Thierry Neuville. Defending World Champion Sébastien Ogier was a mere one tenth of a second behind in third place.
Finland’s Esapekka Lappi finished equal sixth in his Toyota Yaris WRC, but complained of a potential engine issue at the end of the stage.
Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand grabbed an early advantage of 1.2 seconds from England’s Gus Greensmith in WRC 2.
Large crowds had gathered in the Service Park throughout the day and into the evening, initially to witness teams working on the cars after a Shakedown stage that was won by Thierry Neuville and later to prepare the vehicles for the ceremonial start and opening stage.
Eric Camilli was given the honour of opening the stage in his Ford Fiesta R5 entered in the WRC 2 category. Pierre-Louis Loubet and Osian Pryce followed the Frenchman into action and Camilli opened his account with a time of 1min 51.2sec.
Ogier was 34th of the 47 starters on the road and was the last of the WRC drivers to tackle the timed test, although he would have been the first competitor over the start podium in the centre of Mikolajki in the afternoon had the ceremony not been cancelled because of a violent thunderstorm.
Tomorrow (Friday), teams will tackle two loops of four high-speed gravel stages and a repeat run through the Mikolajki Arena stage to round off the day’s action.
The Chmeilewo special gets proceedings underway at 07.15hrs and is followed by the Wieliczki, Swietajno and Stare Juchy specials that will be repeated in the afternoon after a return to the Service Park from 12.40hrs.
Heavy rain is forecast for Friday morning, which gives drivers the prospect of tackling some of the world’s fastest special stages in treacherous surface conditions.
ORLEN 74th Rally Poland – positions after SS1:
1. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC 1min 44.4sec
2. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1min 45.2sec
3. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC 1min 45.3sec
4. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 1min 45.7sec
5. Ott Tanak (EST)/Martin Jarveoja (EST) Ford Fiesta WRC 1min 45.8sec
6. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 1min 45.9sec
6. Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastien Marshall (GBR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1min 45.9sec
6. Stéphane Lefebvre (FRA)/Gabin Moreau (FRA) Citroën C3 WRC 1min 45.9sec
9. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Anders Jaeger (NOR) Citroën C3 WRC 1min 46.0sec
10. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Marc Marti (ESP) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1min 46.2sec
10. Juha Hänninen (FIN)/Kaj Lindström (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 1min 46.2sec
12. Mads Østberg (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC 1min 46.4sec
13. Craig Breen (IRL)/Scott Martin (GBR) Citroën C3 WRC 1min 46.6sec
14. Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Ford Fiesta WRC 1min 47.2sec