By Paul Evans
Elfyn Evans finished in fourth place at what turned out to be a very difficult and challenging Rally Chile.
Having set some good times on this new event, Evans was too far off third place to challenge for a podium position, so made sure he and co-driver Scott Martin made no mistakes on the final day to reach the finish and bag some valuable points.
The M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC driver remains fifth in the FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ standings, but has closed to within just one point of fourth placed Kris Meeke (Toyota). The top three drivers – Ott Tänak (Toyota), Sébastien Ogier (Citroen) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) – are pulling away from the rest of the field.
A great Rally Chile will be remembered for many things, not least the massive accident that Neuville suffered. Thankfully he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul emerged from their destroyed i20 Coupe WRC shaken but otherwise okay.
Tänak won the event, beating Ogier by 23.1 seconds.
“It’s been a difficult rally and there were some places where we struggled for sure,” admitted Evans.
“But overall, it hasn’t been too bad. We managed to stay out of trouble and had some pretty good pace on Saturday. But we just weren’t a hundred percent confident and couldn’t find the last little pieces we needed to fight for the podium. With some big gaps ahead and behind it was all about bringing the car safely home today, and fourth place is definitely a good end to a difficult rally.”
Rally Chile – top 10 finishers
1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:15:53.8
2. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C3 WRC) +23.1
3. Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +30.2
4. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:36.7
5. Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:15.6
6. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferme (Citroen C3 WRC) +3:45.4
7. Andreas Mikkelsen / Andreas Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +4:39.0
8. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +7:33.4
9. Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5) +7:52.5
10. Mads Østberg / Torstein Eriksen (Citroen C3 R5) +8:16.1