Ott Tänak’s Monte Carlo Rally power-steering problem hasn’t been fixed but hasn’t completely failed, leaving him in a safe fifth position halfway through Saturday.
At the end of SS10 Tänak reported that he picked up a power-steering problem 3km into the 17km test, and that therefore hampered his speed and cost him a place to Elfyn Evans.
But, unlike team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet who completely lost the system on Friday, it transpires that Tänak’s failure was intermittent as his pace wasn’t electric but wasn’t dire either on SS11.
“It’s an internal issue but it’s consistent,” Tänak explained. “It’s a bit harder work but it’s driveable.”
Tänak is in a comfortable place on the leaderboard, 11.4 seconds behind Evans but 47.3s clear of Takamoto Katsuta.
Out front, Kalle Rovanperä has come alive with his second stage win of the day – and third of the weekend – whittling team-mate Sébastien Ogier’s lead to exactly 30s.
Rovanperä’s stage performance was blistering, outpacing Ogier and Evans by 4.6s – who set identical times.
“The morning has been fine,” he said. “Just before this stage I overheated the tires too much so for sure it was not the perfect stage, so I tried to push really hard to compensate for the tires.”
Rally leader Ogier added: “I think since this morning the target is to try to stay safe. There was the highest risk of punctures in this stage so I took it easy.”
The tones coming out of Thierry Neuville’s Hyundai continued to be subdued on Saturday morning’s final test. He only lost 0.7s to the chasing Evans but wasn’t happy.
“I was bouncing around all the way,” he said. “Too much movement, no reactivity. I pushed as hard as I could but I’m not comfortable.”
Esapekka Lappi has made further inroads into team-mate Dani Sordo’s seventh place, gnawing another 8.9s out of Sordo’s advantage.
That means the two Hyundais are split by just 4.5s overall – Lappi sounding happy that he was getting on top of his i20 N Rally1, but Sordo in trouble.