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Elfyn claims epic Monte WRC2 victory

Driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5 EVO, Elfyn Evans and his new co-driver Craig Parry secured an epic victory in the WRC2 category at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Dominating the first round of the FIA World Rally Championship’s principal support series, the pairing also concluded the overall event in a strong eighth place – proving the extent of the upgrades M-Sport has made with the Ford Fiesta R5 EVO.

The rally did not start as Elfyn would have liked, picking up a puncture on the very first speed test, but it wasn’t long before he had made up that time and more – claiming the lead on only the fourth stage of the rally. A second puncture hindered them on Saturday morning (SS9) but come the following stage, the lead was theirs once again.

Throughout the course of the weekend, Evans and the Fiesta R5 EVO have been in a class of their own – regularly beating their rivals by 20 or 30 seconds a stage. His two punctures cost him three minutes to the second-placed WRC 2 Skoda Fabia R5, but Evans was still able to finish more than two minutes ahead of Esapekka Lappi – an incredible achievement, considering that he had just one day of testing on full-snow which was unrepresentative of the conditions faced in the rally.

Despite backing well off the pace to secure victory through the final stages, Elfyn has confirmed the Blue Oval’s position at the head of the WRC 2 standings. The Welshman will next tackle Rally Sweden – eager for a repeat performance – in just under three weeks’ time.

Elfyn said:

We’ve had a lot of fun this weekend and I’m pleased to have delivered such a strong result for the team. It was a big weekend with the debut of the Fiesta R5 EVO and I think this result goes to prove the extent of the upgrades.

I have to say that the car has been fantastic – beyond what we were all hoping for. The progress that the team have made is incredible and I think it underlines the fact that the Fiesta is the best car in the category.

Of course it wasn’t an easy event for us – Monte-Carlo never is! I had a new co-driver – who did a great job all weekend – and a new car. If that wasn’t enough, we also suffered two punctures over the course of the event which certainly made things interesting!

Once we had a good lead we backed off the pace to consolidate the win, but I think that we have proven what we are capable of. Now I’m really looking forward to Rally Sweden where I’m sure the competition will be tough!

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

We could not have asked for more with the debut of the new evolution Fiesta R5 and Elfyn has driven brilliantly all weekend. To suffer two punctures and still win the rally by a significant margin is very impressive indeed.

A great deal of work has gone into these upgrades and it is very satisfying to see such a positive result straight out of the box. The team have worked extremely hard and unlocked a massive increase of power which confirms our position at the head of the WRC 2 standings.

Moreover, the whole team are delighted to see Elfyn really enjoy his driving again. Last season was not the easiest for him and we were keen to see him regain the confidence that he had lost. Success is the best remedy for that and if he can keep up this level of performance then I think he will enjoy a lot of success this year.