Thierry Neuville (2nd) said:
“I don’t think it should be too much of a problem to keep Jari-Matti [Latvala] behind us to be honest. We were setting the same pace on all the stages this morning apart from the last one where I made a small mistake. I was caught out under braking and ran wide at a junction.
“We adjusted the brakes and springs after remote service yesterday to make the set-up a bit stiffer, and it really seems to be working well for us.”
Elfyn Evans (8th) said:
“It’s been going well so far. I think we’ve made some good progress and this morning was another step forward. There have been a couple of little errors which have cost us some time but it is all part of the learning experience.
“We’d not been taking too much notice of the times until this morning, but there is a great battle between us and Michal [Kosciusko] at the moment which should be interesting this afternoon. I’ve taken a little bit here, and then he’s taken a little bit there, so I think that will be an exciting close to the rally.
“But I think the main thing for us this afternoon will just be to focus on our own event. We’ve identified the areas where we need to improve – mainly where not to lose time as opposed to gaining more time. “I’ve really enjoyed this morning. Giovanni [Bernacchini, co-driver] and I are working well – he’s been fantastic and the car has been faultless all weekend so I’m really looking forward to enjoying my last four stages in the world rally car.”
Mads Østberg (9th) said:
“Health wise, I feel a little bit better than I did yesterday, but still not brilliant. But it’s OK. I think we can relax a bit now and just concentrate on getting through all the stages this afternoon. I’m not sure how many more places we can make up on the second loop, but it has been an eventful morning so anything can still happen.
“We had a good run on the first stage [this morning, SS9], but then on the second one [SS10] we lost the intercom after a couple of kilometres which meant that we had to do almost the entire stage without any pacenotes. Then on the next one [SS11] we had a slow puncture and on the last one [SS12] we had a spin – so things have been happening!
“This afternoon we will just try to have a good drive with a good rhythm and increase the speed. We’ll certainly try and push in the Power Stage too.”
Qatar M-Sport World Rally