Exclusive By Paul Evans
Elfyn Evans reckons he’s prepared and ready to start the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship on a high, after a very good two-day test ahead of the opening round of the series, the famous Monte Carlo Rally.
The 29-year old from Dolgellau spent the weekend testing his works Ford Fiesta RS WRC car in what he describes as a “real mix of conditions” in the south of France.
Whilst some of the test took place on dry asphalt roads, a significant part of it was held on snow and ice – hazardous conditions that could be a feature of this month’s Monte Carlo Rally (26‐28 January), with its stages high up in the Alpes Maritimes region.
Co-driven by Daniel Barritt, Evans will be hoping to better his career-best sixth place finish he achieved on last year’s Monte Carlo Rally – although that will be far from easy with 11 works World Rally Cars on the entry list.
For starters he’ll be up against reigning World Champion and team-mate Sébastien Ogier, while Monte specialist Bryan Bouffier also drives an M-Sport Ford. Hyundai will field three i20 WRC cars for Andreas Mikkelsen, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, Toyota have a trio of Yaris WRCs for Jari-Matti Latvala, Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak, while Citroën field a pair of C3 WRC for Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.
“We’ve just completed another two days of testing with a real mix of conditions,” said Evans, who bagged his maiden rally win on his home round last year.
“The road was constantly evolving which is great when it comes to getting a flavour for everything we’ve come to expect on a rally like Monte, but it can also be a bit of a double-edged sword at times – making it difficult to judge which direction to go in terms of set-up.
“But overall I would say that we had a pretty good test and are feeling fairly well prepared. We’ll be working on our final preparations this week, and then we’ll be ready to get the new season underway.
“Monte is always a lottery and it can go either way, but we’ll give it our best. We want to start the year on a high, so let’s see what happens.”