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Frustration for Elfyn in Portugal

Despite the fact that the new M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC made its debut on last weekend’s Rally Portugal, the event is one that Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt will be keen to forget.

Having made a consistent start to his championship, the Welshman looked on course to impress over the weekend – three seconds clear of World Champion Sebastien Ogier midway through Friday’s opening speed test (SS2).

Unfortunately it was not to be as a fault with the throttle pedal fly-by-wire – a tried and tested part carried over from the previous homologation – put paid to his efforts just three kilometres shy of the stage end.

An uncharacteristic mistake then robbed him of an opportunity to experience Saturday’s stages when he damaged the suspension of his Fiesta RS WRC on SS8.

There were a lot of positives to take a away from the event, however. The fifth-placed finish recorded by Elfyn’s teammate Ott Tanak hints at the huge potential the new Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC has to unleash.

Elfyn now turns his focus to next month’s Rally d’Italia where he and Dan will be keen to prove their own potential at the wheel of M-Sport’s new car.

Elfyn said:

Looking at the weekend I’ve had it’s definitely not the way we wanted to debut the new car, but overall the feeling in the team is really good. It’s clear that we have made a step forward and we’ve also been able to identify a few places where we can improve the car further.

It might have been a nightmare event for me with very little mileage and the disadvantage of running first on the road today, but we have to look at the positives. Ott’s `{`Tänak`}` shown that there’s a lot of potential in the car and I feel the same.

The boys in the workshop put in an unbelievable number of hours to ensure that we had the cars ready in time, and I’m really sorry for them that I couldn’t help prove how much their hard work paid off. But we look forward to Sardinia where I hope I can repay their efforts with a strong result.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

I really feel for Elfyn, but I know he won’t dwell on the events of this weekend. He’ll pick himself up for Sardinia where there’s potential to see one of his best performances on gravel.

Finally I need to thank our fantastic team once again. There has been a lot of hard work behind the scene and the steps we made this weekend are testament to their dedication and commitment.