Elfyn Evans finished Rally Poland - the latest round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship - under Rally 2 regulations, but the Welshman remains in a positive mood having made another major step forward in his development.
A promising weekend was cruelly cut short for Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt. The pairing were one of numerous crews to clip an unsighted rock towards the end of SS14 – damaging the lower front suspension link and forcing the Brits to make an ultimely exit from the third day of competition.
Despite his misfortune, Evans can take many positives from this weekend’s event. Setting some highly impressive split times to rival the rally leaders, M-Sport’s protégé has proved that he has the pace and remains upbeat with the prospect of more familiar events to come.
Next in his development, the Welshman will work towards sustaining his speed over the course of an entire stage distance. Having gained some vital experience on what was the fastest competition of his career, the youngster heads to Rally Finland’s famously high-speed route with his confidence high.
“I think it’s fair to say that it was a difficult start for us. We were able to build the pace as the weekend went on, but it took me a little longer than I would have liked to adapt. Once we started to get used to the speed, I think the times were quite promising.
“Just as we were getting to the point where we felt comfortable to up our game and push a bit more, we hit the rock which caught out so many crews on SS14. It was a shame for sure, but that’s just the way it is sometimes and you have to put it down to experience.
“It was good to get back out today – to get some more mileage and perfect the notes for the future. It wasn’t a fantastic run being first on the road, but on the whole it has been a very productive weekend.
“It’s all good practice ahead of Rally Finland. We’ve got a bit of a break now but with a good test before the rally I’m sure we’ll be looking for a strong result.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“Elfyn was unfortunate yesterday, but his progression behind the wheel has been very impressive. After a somewhat shaky start, he found a good rhythm and his splits have been good. These fast stages will see him well placed as we head to Rally Finland and a series of events on which he has more experience."