Class act Evans stakes claim for WRC fu­ture

Motor Sport News - - Rally France -

Wet weather re­mains one of the great­est of great lev­el­ers when it comes to get­ting a car around a cor­ner, for ex­am­ple, 1993 Euro­pean Grand Prix, Ayr­ton Senna, lap one, etc.

This might be the first time that El­fyn Evans has been com­pared to Senna, in fact, I’m pretty sure it is. But what the Welsh­man did in some of the wettest and tough­est Cor­si­can con­di­tions ever last sea­son was awe­some. It prob­a­bly saved his ca­reer and cer­tainly helped keep him at M-sport.

Will it be the same story this time around? Cer­tainly, Evans has done his bit: his time splash­ing through the sod­den Satur­day af­ter­noon Novel­laPi­etralba test was an­other dis­play of tal­ent in mar­ginal con­di­tions. Evans and co-driver Craig Parry bossed their fi­nal WRC2 round of the sea­son from the very start. The Welsh pair and their Ford Fi­esta R5 put Skoda’s pre­ferred as­phalt ace Jan Kopecky to the sword and the Fabia R5 man had no an­swer across the spread of three days.

Evans romped into a 17.9-sec­ond lead from the open­ing stage, but was forced onto the back foot when Kopecky came back at him in the next two. Fastest again on Fri­day’s fi­nale, Evans was quick­est on three from four on Satur­day – build­ing a cush­ion big enough to en­sure a risk-free run on Sun­day. The gap re­mained a pleas­ing 33.3s at the fin­ish. Third­placed Yoann Bonato was miles be­hind (3m39.6s to be pre­cise).

Evans’ vic­tory moves him fur­ther clear at the top of the WRC2 ta­ble, but the va­garies of the FIA’S scor­ing sys­tem for the WRC sup­port se­ries en­sure the ad­van­tage still lies with Teemu Suni­nen, who com­pletes his cam­paign in Spain.

A WRC2 ti­tle to match his BRC win would be nice for Evans, but the big and most cher­ished prize re­mains gain­ful em­ploy­ment in the WRC next sea­son.

Three of Hyundai’s all-new i20 R5s were in Cor­sica and, pre­dictably, Kevin Ab­bring and his Bri­tish co-driver Seb Mar­shall were com­fort­ably the quick­est of the trio. Sadly their run came to nought when a punc­ture de­vel­oped into sus­pen­sion dam­age which de­vel­oped into a dam­aged wa­ter pipe. With the en­gine at stake, the ma­chine was switched off in SS7.

French­man Lau­rent Pel­lier en­joyed a dream WRC de­but, win­ning the Ju­nior sec­tion by just over half a minute from Yo­han Ros­sel.

“This event has been magic,” said Pel­lier. “We have had a great bat­tle with Ros­sel for the whole rally, but this re­sult is more than I could think about at the start.”

Si­mone Tem­pes­tini took the Ju­nior crown with fourth place – his near­est cham­pi­onship ri­vals Terry Folb and Ole Chris­tian Veiby had to win to deny him the crown, but fin­ished fourth and sev­enth re­spec­tively, both hav­ing tough week­ends.

DRIVER/ CO-DRIVER

Se­bastien Ogier (Fra)/julien In­gras­sia (FRA) Thierry Neuville (BEL)/ Ni­co­las Gil­soul (BEL) An­dreas Mikkelsen (Nor)/an­ders Jaeger (NOR) Jari-matti Lat­vala (FIN)/ Mi­ikka Anttila (FIN) Craig Breen (Irl)/scott Martin (GBR) Hay­den Pad­don (NZL)/JOHN Ken­nard (NZL) Dani Sordo (ESP)/MARC Marti (ESP) Eric Camilli (FRA)/ Ben­jamin Veil­las (FRA) Mads Ost­berg (NOR)/OLA Floene (NOR) Ott Tanak (Est)/raigo Molder (EST) El­fyn Evans (Gbr)/craig Parry (GBR) Kris Meeke (GBR)/PAUL Na­gle (IRL) Lorenzo Bertelli (Ita)/si­mone Scat­tolin (ITA) Si­mone Tem­pes­tini (ROU)/GIO Ber­nac­chini (ITA) Kevin Ab­bring (NLD)/SEB Mar­shall (GBR) Mo Al-mutawaa (Aer)/stu­art Loudon (GBR)

Tem­pes­tini took Ju­nior WRC ti­tle on Cor­sica

Evans proved pace again with WRC2 win

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