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Intense preparation ahead of another new challenge for Elfyn

Spirits are high as the M-Sport World Rally Team heads for the fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship: the XION Rally Argentina. Following a rare retirement on the previous outing in Portugal, Elfyn Evans is eager for a return to the kind of form that saw him finish fourth on the Rally Mexico.

Contested amongst some of the championship’s most challenging and diverse terrain, the Argentine fixture presents no easy task and the top positions will be hard fought.  With passes through the Sierras Chicas, Valle de Calamuchita and Valle de Traslasierra, the gravel route offers a wealth of variation – narrow mountain tracks contrasting with open plains and dramatic moonlike vistas.

Incorporating some of the longest stages of the year, a good tempo for each variation is paramount. With no more than four traditional speed tests per day, those intent on victory can’t risk easing into a comfortable rhythm and that is sure to separate the men from the boys.

Crews also need to be 100 per cent confident behind the wheel – content in the knowledge that their car is set-up to deliver optimum performance over each aspect of the stages’ diverse character.

Having never contested the South American fixture, Elfyn’s primary focus will be getting his Fiesta RS WRC through all of the stages unscathed. Undertaking a fourth new event in as many months does not faze the young Welshman, however. His co-driver Daniel Barritt has good knowledge of the rally having tackled it on three previous occasions, and Evans has spent his time preparing for the challenge both in and out of the car.

A full week of development testing covering more than 1,200 kilometres provided the added seat time that can only boost a fledgling driver’s confidence and to best cope with the physical demands of the mammoth stages, the Welshman embarked on a strict fitness regime with M-Sport’s trainer – Champion European Triathlete, Barry Johnson.

Elfyn said:

It’s another new event for me so I’ll need to find the right balance between ensuring I learn as much as I can whilst still showing some of the pace we were displaying in Portugal. We’ll have to judge the situation as it comes, but the most important thing will be to make it through all of the stages.

“I’m not too sure of what to expect, but I’ve heard that parts of the route are like driving on the moon! As with every new event I do everything I can to ensure that I am as fully prepared as possible. I watch a lot of onboards to try and get a feel of what to expect, and these stages look like they’ll be some of the most technical of the year, but you never really know until you experience it for yourself.

We’ve been doing a lot of development testing since Portugal and the added seat time has been really beneficial. Whilst testing, I am there to do a job, but it also allows me to experiment with the driving and discover new things with the car.

I’ve also done a lot of fitness training with Barry `{`Johnson, M-Sport trainer`}` so I feel well prepared for the physical demands of the longer stages. We do a lot of different things such as cycling and even running in a full racesuit! It’s all good practice to make sure that I am in peak condition for the challenges to come.