WRC2 victory rounds off amazing year for Elfyn
The year began with Elfyn moving to Dovenby, the home of M-Sport, to claim his prize for winning the 2012 Fiesta International Shootout – a twelve-month contract working with the team. Since the contract would co-incide with his other prize from an incredible 2012 season – a programme of WRC events in a four-wheel drive car for winning the FIA Academy title – Elfyn was in the unique position of helping to develop the car he’d be driving on the WRC events.
The Fiesta R5 development programme included appearances on several rallies, as well as an intensive test schedule away from the glare of publicity, and Elfyn was joined by co-driver Daniel Barritt for these events. Once the R5 was launched, the pair were able to use the car in anger on a total of five WRC rounds and finished second in WRC2 on two of these events, in Germany and France.
An unexpected bonus for Elfyn was a last-minute offer to drive a Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta World Rally Car on the Italian round of the WRC, in Sardinia. Despite a new co-driver, a new car and no previous experience of the event, Elfyn finished in a remarkable sixth place – the best WRC debut by a Junior champion in the sport’s history.
The final round of the FIA World Rally Championship was Elfyn’s home event and, despite stiff opposition, he and Dan were able to record their first WRC2 victory. Their winning margin was over a minute and impressed the M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson OBE, who had already expressed his hope that Elfyn will be able to tackle every round of the WRC in 2014, budget allowing.
Speaking immediately after the rally, Elfyn said:
It is a great feeling to win my first WRC2 event at home here in Wales. I need to say a big thanks to the whole team - they've worked really hard and given me this fantastic car. To bring them a win here on home soil is absolutely fantastic!
I have to say a big thanks to Dan too; he works extremely hard and this win is as much down to him as it is to me. This is a very special moment for us, so it has to be up there as one of the best moments of my career.
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
Elfyn can be very pleased with himself this weekend. He and Dan did exactly what was asked of them. There wasn't a single mark on the car at the end of the event and they controlled their lead from practically start to finish. I am sure that the Welsh fans were extremely happy to have had a Welsh winner this weekend!