Rally Estonia: Day 1
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing drivers restart the WRC season
The 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season resumed in Estonia on Friday evening with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Sébastien Ogier leading the field into the opening stage and recording the joint-fastest time.
Earlier, the drivers took part in the pre-event shakedown over a 6.23-kilometre stage in the heart of the rally area. Ogier recorded the second-quickest time with Kalle Rovanperä in fourth and Elfyn Evans sixth, with the three drivers separated by one second across their fastest times.
The opening stage of the rally took place adjacent to the service park on the Raadi airfield in Tartu with a technical 1.28-kilometre test. Championship leader Ogier set the joint-quickest time, with Evans only six tenths of a second back in fifth place. Rovanperä was equal sixth fastest among the World Rally Cars with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta.
Tom Fowler (Technical Director)“Over the break since the last round, the team has looked in detail at the performance of the car and made some developments to strengthen our package overall. Here in Estonia, we’re running a new software that improves engine performance as well as some chassis control systems. We also have some weight savings and fine tuning in setup specific to these roads. It’s a combination of many small details: The team is confident in their work and excited to see the results. With the speed and the jumps, the roads here in Estonia have some similarity to Finland, which we know well. The main challenge comes from the surface: We know the stages will change as cars run through, so we have to monitor this carefully and predict the setup accordingly, especially on the smaller technical roads. We used shakedown to check these settings, leaving some time between our runs to make the changes and allow the stage to evolve a bit. This was a confirmation of the work we did in our pre-event testing.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)
“I always enjoy to go to new places and to discover new roads, and the roads here in Estonia look beautiful. I think we are all enjoying driving on these kind of roads, especially with the car we have right now. The roads are extremely fast and you need to have a lot of confidence. The time in the first stage was good and I’m looking forward to start the real fight in the morning. I feel really good in the car and I’m ready to give my best. The Yaris WRC is working well for us here so we have the right tools to perform well. I just hope that the conditions for me starting at the front of the road order will be OK: It was the case this morning in shakedown, and I hope tomorrow there won’t be some cleaning effect for me.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It’s nice to be here and starting competition again for real. It was good to be back behind the wheel again in shakedown this morning. Everything feels good in the car. We saw the stage get very rutted towards the later runs, but still everything felt quite OK. The first stage tonight was fine and I’m looking forward to start the rally properly in the morning. I think everyone’s going to be pushing hard from the get-go. We’ll have a lot of ruts for the second pass, especially on these narrow roads, so this will be something we need to adapt to during the rally for sure.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It’s nice to be starting a rally again because it’s been such a long time since the last one. The short first stage was really tricky so the time was not so good, but it was a clean run with no mistakes. This morning it was a nice shakedown. The first pass was a bit more tricky than we thought, with less grip than what we had in the tests, so we made some setup changes and it got better, and hopefully tomorrow morning we will have good grip on the stages. It will be a big challenge to drive these stages for the first time with fresh pacenotes, because on the first loop already you have to push a lot and be precise, so hopefully the notes are good and we can push.”
End of day one (Friday):
1 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1m17.0s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.0s
3 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.1s
4 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +0.4s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.6s
6 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +1.2s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.4s
8 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1.4s
9 Pontus Tidemand/Patrik Barth (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +1.4s
10 Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (Hyundai i20 R5) +1.5s
(Results as of 20:30 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
What's next?Nearly two-thirds of the rally’s competitive distance will be run on Saturday. Prangli, the longest stage of the rally at 20.93 kilometres, opens a loop of five stages that will be run twice either side of midday service.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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