M-Sport Ford suffered a rally to forget at the RallyRACCC Catalunya-Costa Daurada, the penultimate round of the 2015 World Rally Championship, with both drivers Elfyn Evans and Ott Tanak retiring out of the premier category and missing out on the top ten.
The pair were both forced to retire on Saturday, Tanak in SS11 after taking off a wheel in an incident while Evans ran off the road during SS13. It was an especially difficult situation for the Estonian driver who had been challenging for the rostrum before his off having rediscovered some strong pace on both gravel and tarmac in Spain.
“It was a big disappointment for the whole team on Saturday as we had the pace to really challenge for the podium this weekend,” Tanak said. “At the end of the day it was just one bad note, and when you don't have the experience of these stages that is always a risk.
“There are still a lot of positives that we can take away from this rally. Our speed on gravel was strong, but I was actually more pleased with our pace on tarmac. I feel as though we're really starting to rebuild our confidence on that surface and the more kilometres we do, the more confident we'll get.”
Evans was given a harsh reality check in Spain having grabbed a career-best result of second place last time out at the Tour de Corse and will be looking to bounce back in style at the final round of the season and his home event Wales Rally GB next month.
“It's been a disappointing weekend for the team, especially after the highs of Corsica,” Evans said. “We wanted to do a lot more but unfortunately it wasn't to be – an overly ambitious cut from myself ending what could have been a solid result.”
The M-Sport Ford WRT lost significant ground in the fight for the runner-up spot in the WRC manufacturers' championship and now sit 33 points adrift of Citroen and 29 off of Hyundai with one round remaining.