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Cruel luck denies Elfyn victory in Corsica

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin were denied a well-deserved victory at this weekend’s Tour de Corse – picking up a puncture through the final stage and having to settle for third place overall.

The British pairing were the ones to beat this weekend and showed true class behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC. Displaying all the characteristics of a deserving winner, Evans had the speed and the determination; but was just missing a little bit of luck through the final kilometres.

Having lost time on yesterday’s closing stage he and Martin had fallen 4.5 seconds behind eventual winner Thierry Neuville. But the pairing started the day in a positive frame of mind – confident in the knowledge that they had the better of their rival throughout the weekend.

Starting as he meant to go on, Evans set a sensational time through the opening speed test – 8.8 seconds quicker than anyone else and a full 16 seconds quicker than Neuville. The Belgian had no hope of matching the Welshman on speed alone, but fate played a hand through the final stage.

Picking up a puncture on the line, it was heart-breaking to watch the time slip away – relegating Evans to third place. But despite the disappointment, the team remain extremely proud and will take consolation from the rally-winning pace displayed here in Corsica.

Elfyn said:

It’s disappointing right now, but overall it’s been a really positive weekend and we know that we had the speed to win. The first stage this morning felt really good, and we had a good rhythm going into the Power Stage. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it felt like we were in the middle of the road and just unfortunate to hit a stone or something in the line.

Straight away I knew it didn’t sound good, and sure enough a couple of hundred metres later we got the puncture alarm. We had 11 kilometres to go and I knew that if we stopped to change it we would lose a lot of positions. We decided to continue, and thankfully made it to the end to salvage a podium.

Perhaps it’s not the result we wanted, but the pace is there and I think we can all take confidence from that moving forward. We’ve had a pretty strong start to the season so far and I’ve been really happy with the Fiesta on all four of the opening rounds. The guys back at M-Sport are working exceptionally hard and making improvements all the time so I see no reason why we can’t continue this form into the coming events.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

This one is pretty hard to take. Elfyn and Scott were the fastest crew out there this weekend and have shown everyone what they and the Fiesta are capable of. That first stage this morning was simply sensational and I don’t think anyone can say that they didn’t deserve this victory.

To lose it on the last stage was a bitter blow for the whole team, but we need to look to the positives – and there were a lot of those this weekend. We’ve secured our second consecutive podium and the team have made some incredible steps forward with the Fiesta. Everyone is working flat-out to ensure we can continue to fight for the top results – and clearly we can!

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