North Wales driver Elfyn Evans equalled a career-best fourth place on Rally Mexico, the third round of the World Rally Championship.
In their M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Dolgellau ace Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt followed their team strategy to a tee, with a near flawless run. Evans showed strength of character in adopting a risk-free strategy in the difficult conditions, while also demonstrating his speed potential.
Pushing when confident, Evans set the third fastest time through the first pass of El Chocolate (SS4) along with the fastest split at section six.
Thanks to their impressive result, Evans and Barritt have now climbed into fifth place in the World Rally Championship drivers' standings.
Evans said: "Overall I am extremely happy with my rally and to come away with a strong fourth place – equalling my best ever result – was a big positive. From a driving satisfaction point of view I think the pace was much better in Sweden and Monte, but we knew we needed a good result here and that is what we did.
"The main objective was to have a solid, mistake-free run and I think we have done that. Other than hitting a few tyres on the super special we didn't have a single mistake which is something of an achievement here.
"Of course it was a bit frustrating at times – not being able to push to the maximum when there was a lot more to give – but today especially there was much more to lose than there was to gain."
His team principal Malcolm Wilson OBE said: "Elfyn and Dan secured a great fourth place and are now in a strong fifth place in the championship. I think it's fair to say that he was a little frustrated at times because he clearly had a lot more to give, but he kept his head and a mistake-free run on an event like this will only build his confidence going forward."
Evans's clear run really helped his team, who had their work cut out repairing team-mate Ott Tanak's Fiesta after the Estonian had slid off the road and into a resevoir. Despite the car spending almost 10 hours submerged in water, the M-Sport team had the car – dubbed TiTanak – back up and running to complete the Sunday's final stages of the rally.
Evans added: "I need to say how impressed I was with the team getting TiTänak to the end of the rally.
"I have to be honest, I was one of the people thinking 'I'm not so sure that car will run again', but to be fair to them they did an incredible job.
"I have a massive amount of respect for each and every one of those boys. They really are the best in the world and they've proven that this weekend."
Tanak went on to finish in 22nd place and later said: "The team have done a fantastic job, it is something unreal what they have done.
"It's such a great feeling to have been able to carry on. It was so important for me and Raigo (Molder, co-driver) to do that, and we really enjoyed it.
"It's a real boost for a driver to know that you have people like that behind you all of the time.
"I am still amazed at what they managed to do. It was just incredible."
The next round of the WRC is in Argentina from Arpil 23-26.