Elfyn Evans made a promising start to the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship at Rallye Monte-Carlo this weekend. Despite suffering some misfortune on the penultimate day of competition, the M-Sport team was encouraged by the speed, potential and never-give-up attitude of both Elfyn and his team-mate Ott Tänak.
Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt finished the event in a solid seventh place but the result could have been so much better. The Welshman was in a strong fifth place – chasing fourth – when he clipped a wall through "Prunieres – Embrun 2" (SS11) and damaged the rear suspension of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Never willing to give up the fight, he and Dan resourcefully fashioned a temporary repair which avoided retirement and kept them in the fight.
Before the event Evans commented that he wanted to increase his speed on all 13 rounds of this year's championship; and so far it is mission accomplished. The Welshman may be lacking experience of this notoriously difficult event, but he overcame that – proving that he has the ability to challenge towards the head of the field with a third fastest time through "La Salle en Beaumont – Corps 1" (SS3) as well as a number of fastest split times.
There may have been some disappointments for the team this weekend, but the potential is clear to see. Evans and Tänak have all of the natural speed, skill and character to produce a successful season for the M-Sport squad; and that bodes well for the events to come.
"There's a feeling of what could have been at the end of this event. The potential was definitely there to do more, but there were a couple of silly mistakes on my part – one of which was extremely costly. We had some very good tyre choices throughout the weekend, but then again some weren't quite so good so there are some things to learn.
"Overall the speed has been good and that is definitely a big positive that we can take from this weekend. We can also see where we went wrong which is important for the future and I'm looking forward to coming back and having another go at the event next year."
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"The result is not what it could have been, but I have been extremely impressed by both Elfyn and Ott this weekend. We were running as high as third and fourth overall and it is fair to say that we never expected to be in that position. They have the speed, but they also have the will and the determination to succeed. They'll never give up and that's what will see them go far. Needless to say that the whole team is extremely encouraged by the huge potential they both possess."