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Speed goes unrewarded for Elfyn in Germany

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans experienced all the highs and lows of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at this year’s Rallye Deutschland. The Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver displayed some pace-setting speed, but it went unrewarded at the first pure asphalt event of the year.

Elfyn had the potential to challenge for the top positions, but he was unable to sustain his impressive pace over the course of the whole rally. In the cooler morning temperatures, he and co-driver Daniel Barritt were the only crew to consistently split the leading Volkswagens. Setting the second fastest time on SS9 and the third fastest time on SS19, they were also the fastest crew through SS18 – making Elfyn the only man other than Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala to secure a stage win.

Unfortunately, the Welshman was unable to maximise the available grip in the unseasonably high temperatures that blighted the afternoon speed tests – an issue which demoted him to sixth place overall.

Despite failing to reach their true potential, M-Sport drew strength from the fact that Elfyn has the speed to challenge for the podium on asphalt.

There will be some hard work behind the scenes to ensure that the team’s pace can be maintained over the course of a full weekend, and they’ll be looking to make another vital step forward on the next sealed-surface event in Corsica. Before the French round of the series, the WRC reconvenes on gravel in Australia next month.

Elfyn said:

I can’t say I’m satisfied with the rally as a whole, but there were a lot of positives and I was certainly satisfied with our performance on a couple of individual stages. We came very close to winning two stages – and we did win one – but we didn’t get everything 100 percent right this weekend.

In the mornings the pace and the feeling in the car was good but as the temperatures increased, we just didn’t seem able to keep that same speed. It’s clearly something we need to work on, but the potential is there and we know we can be challenging for the top positions when everything is right.<br />

I’m sure there’ll be a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes as we prepare for Corsica, and we hope that will result in us fighting towards the very top when the championship returns to Tarmac in October.

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

I think it’s fair to say that we expected a little bit more from this weekend, but we didn’t get everything 100 percent perfect and that’s something we need to work on ahead of Corsica.

When Elfyn felt confident in the car, his pace was extremely strong and there’s no doubting the huge potential he and the Fiesta have on this surface. This event was completely dominated by Sebastien `{`Ogier`}` and Jari-Matti `{`Latvala`}`; so for Elfyn to be the only other driver to secure a stage victory just goes to prove how strong that potential is.

There will be a lot of hard work behind the scenes as we prepare for the next Tarmac event. We know that we have the speed, we just need to ensure that we have everything in place to sustain it over the course of a full weekend.