By Paul Evans
Elfyn Evans’ hopes of a strong points-scoring finish on this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo are over, after he crashed his Ford Fiesta WRC out of the event this morning.
Co-driven by Scott Martin, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s lead driver finished yesterday’s leg in a strong sixth position – just 29.8 seconds off a podium position.
But Saturday morning didn’t start well, as Evans lost a minute on the day’s opening stage, the 18.53 mile Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps test (SS9), when a rear tyre delaminated, dropping him to seventh.
Worse was to follow on the very next 10.5 mile St Leger les Mélèzes – La-Bâtie Neuve stage when, on a very fast, narrow and ice-lined section of road, Evans got slightly off line and the slippery verge pulled him off the road and down a steep bank.
With only the top 60 cars starting tomorrow’s final leg from Monaco – which is something of a unique tradition on the Monte Carlo Rally – there is no Rally2 restart for Evans, meaning that despite a great effort, he leaves the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship with no points in the bag.
But he’s not the only driver to retire this morning, as Andreas Mikkelsen ripped a wheel off his Hyundai and Esapekka Lappi parked his Citroen with suspected engine failure.