Encouraging start to WRC season for Elfyn
The rally was the first of five events in a four-wheel-drive Fiesta – Elfyn’s prize for winning the 2012 FIA WRC Academy. Despite only driving the car for the first time at Shakedown on Thursday, Elfyn was immediately on the WRC-2 pace and wasn’t outside the top four times on all of Day 1’s five stages. Ending the day in second place in the category, Elfyn was more than satisfied with his day’s work.
Day 2, however, began badly for Elfyn, as the car stopped around five kilometres into the opening stage. Elfyn and his co-driver Daniel Barritt – competing together on a WRC event for the first time – were forced to retire from the day’s competition, but the Rally 2 rules meant the pair could contest the final day once the Qatar M-Sport Ford mechanics had repaired the transmission fault.
Despite the fact that Elfyn was now out to gain experience and gain mileage in the car, he clearly moved up a gear on the final day. He and Daniel set the fastest WRC-2 time on all of the day’s four stages to end the rally in eighth place in the category. In all, they’d picked up thirty minutes of penalties under the Rally 2 regulations, yet finished a little over twenty nine minutes behind the WRC-2 winner: a satisfying, yet frustrating performance.
After the rally, Elfyn said:
This weekend was all very unknown, with a lot to learn. We got to grips with the car reasonably quickly and we were building our speed. Unfortunately, we hit trouble on Saturday, which was disappointing but it couldn’t be helped. Restarting today, we just picked up where we left off on Friday. We had a good day with no problems and just got more and more comfortable as the day went on.
We’ve gained some great experience this weekend and I think we’ll be well placed for the next event. I am very much looking forward to getting back and really challenging for the top results.