Evans in con­trol of WRC2 with new R5 Fi­esta

Motor Sport News - - Monte Carlo Rally -

Julien Mau­rin and Ar­min Kre­mer must have won­dered what all the fuss was at the end of the open­ing stage last Thurs­day night. Elfyn Evans? Re­ally? Noth­ing to worry about there. They’d both kicked him firmly into touch, the tune of a minute-plus.

Er… not quite. Driv­ing nine miles with a front-left punc­ture was the rea­son the Welsh­man was ninth af­ter his first stage in WRC2 in more than two years. Four fully in­flated Miche­lins be­neath him, he was al­most half a minute faster than any­body else in stage two.

And he wasn’t beaten on a stage again un­til he suf­fered an­other punc­ture in SS9. By then he’d re­built a minute and a half lead over Kre­mer and the se­cond de­fla­tion dropped him five sec­onds be­hind the Ger­man Skoda man. One stage later, he was 49s to the good again.

In short, Evans was epic. And so was the evo­lu­tion of M-sport’s Ford Fi­esta R5.

The Welsh­man, co-driven for the first time by Craig Parry, took a max­i­mum points score from the open­ing WRC2 round, hav­ing con­trolled the rally through­out de­spite drop­ping four min­utes with punc­tures. In more good news for Evans, he beat fan­cied Fabia R5 run­ner Es­apekka Lappi by two min­utes – the Finn wasn’t reg­is­tered for points.

Kre­mer was clas­si­fied se­cond in WRC2, while Ju­nior WRC cham­pion Quentin Gil­bert was third de­spite over­heat­ing is­sues aboard his Citroen DS 3 R5. Teemu Suni­nen was fourth, with Quentin Gior­dano fifth de­spite be­ing nudged into an SS10 ditch when Jose Suarez sent his 208 T16 up the in­side of Gior­dano’s DS 3 R5 into a hair­pin. The stew­ards let that one go, but Suarez was fined 150 euros for try­ing to knock Gior­dano out of the way three stages later!

Re­gard­less of the whacky races go­ing on be­hind, Evans was un­touch­able. “It’s good to get some points on the board,” said the WRC2 win­ner, arms un­folded and with a big grin.

Ole Chris­tian Veiby con­tin­ued his run of good form, build­ing on his maiden WRC3 vic­tory in Wales at the end of last sea­son with an­other win in Monte Carlo.

Veiby em­ployed the ser­vices of Jonas An­der­s­son in the co-driver’s seat for a one-off out­ing be­fore the Swede joins Pon­tus Tide­mand for the rest of the sea­son and en­joyed a trou­ble-free event.

“We only had a punc­ture near the end of one stage,” said Veiby. “Oth­er­wise ev­ery­thing went to plan. It was great hav­ing Jonas with me.”

Veiby won WRC3 from Peu­geot Academy driver Jor­dan Berfa, who brought his 208 R2 home one place ahead of the sim­i­lar ma­chine of Ital­ian fed­er­a­tionbacked Fabio An­dolfi.

Evans bounced back from two punc­tures and fin­ished eighth over­all for M-sport

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