Friday, August 3, 2012

2012 Rally Finland: Elfyn Evans Leads WRC Academy After Day One

Ken Block gave the WRC Academy teams a few pointers on self promotion prior to WRC Finland 2012

Elfyn Evans (1st)

“We started off quite well today. We struggled to get a rhythm early on in the first stage [SS1], but we improved from there. I was happy with the Super Special [SS2], although I could see room for improvement. But then on the last stage [SS3], we found a good rhythm and pace. “I am very happy to be on top after a long first day. The car was fantastic with no problems at all. It was a great start, I just need to maintain it tomorrow.”

Alastair Fisher (2nd +2.8s)

“The first stage [SS1] was OK, but I maybe didn’t attack it to its full potential as we were conscious that it was the stage we had an accident on last year. Again we were lacking slightly in confidence on the Super Special [SS2], but got into a really good rhythm right from the start on the last stage [SS3] and we were happy with the result. The car was perfect, well balanced and felt really good."

Brendan Reeves (3rd +17.5s)

“I am quite happy with today. We probably took the first stage [SS1] a little conservative and lost a little time there – it is really dry and we have experienced a lot of sideways action. Then we went into the Super Special [SS2] and had a good clean run there. “This evening we had our lights on and had the confidence to attack the last stage [SS3] quite hard, but unfortunately we lost a little time with a spin in one of the last corners. Apart from that we showed good pace and rhythm in this stage which we will take into the stages tomorrow. We are into third place after a great day of competition and looking forward to the fight tomorrow.”

Timo Van der Marel (4th +17.6s)

“Today was a really good day with nice stages, although not so stereotypical of the Finnish roads with not so many jumps – but this actually worked to our advantage. Our pacenotes are working very well, with only a few minor changes compared to last year and the car is perfect. We will approach tomorrow the same as today. I am happy with our pace, and with our fourth position. It is a long rally and I predict the top four will not remain the same at the end of this rally!”

John MacCrone (5th +29.9s)

  “We had a good run in the first stage [SS1] and were very happy with our pace. We made a few minor mistakes in the Super Special stage [SS2], but got to the end. The last stage [SS3] was very fast, I was maybe a little cautious and dropped some time there. ”But we are very happy to be the highest of those competing for the first time here and the car is spot on. We are having a great battle with Pontus [Tidemand] and looking forward to the stages tomorrow. Today has been a day of experience, which we will hopefully use to our advantage tomorrow.”

Pontus Tidemand (6th +34.8s)

“Today was quite OK, but we were not pushing to our maximum. The stages were as fast as I expected, and we are just finding the rhythm of the front runners. I am really looking forward to the stages tomorrow with some big jumps!”

Jose Antonia Suárez (7th +38.8s)

“It has been a good day overall. I have a really good feeling with the car and I am happy with our pacenotes and preparations. The stages were as we expected, very fast. I will take the experience of today into tomorrow and hopefully improve our times against the other guys with maximum attack!”

Christopher Duplessis (8th +1:07.4s)

“So far this rally has been awesome! The stages are really good and the Super Special [SS2] was a blast. I made a small mistake on the first stage [SS1] and lost some time [30 seconds], but brought the car to the finish. “I am having a good time and the car is really good. Alex [Kihurani] is great and we are happy with our pacenote preparation. We are learning all of the time and really looking forward to the big jumps tomorrow. I hope we can close in on the front runners with our pace.”

João Silva (9th +1:48.3s)

“It has been a good day with no problems on my debut here in Finland. The first two stages were good. I made some changes to the set-up on the car on the final stage [SS3], but unfortunately lost some time and confidence so I will revert back to the original set-up for tomorrow. We are learning all the time and tomorrow is a long day, but we will approach it in the same way as today – keep calm and continue to learn step-by-step.”

Fredrik Åhlin (10th +10:05.0s) Retired on SS3 with an accident..

Ashley Haigh-Smith (11th +13:13.6) “The day started great but about 5km into the stage [SS1] the gear lever snapped. We had to stop on the stage to see if we could fix the problem, but in the end Craig [Parry] had to help by pulling the gear shift for me. We stopped on the road section to work on the car to make the gear shift work and arrived 4 minutes late at the next control. “The stages were awesome. I was lacking in confidence early on, but Craig reassured me. We will start again from scratch tomorrow and take the experience from today to see how we can improve.”