I AM HUNGRIER THAN EVER TO PROVE MY­SELF Brit is con­firmed in WRC crew along­side Ogier and Tanak at M-sport

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans

Bri­tain’s re­turn­ing World Rally Cham­pi­onship star El­fyn Evans says he comes back to the se­ries as a more com­plete driver and a tougher char­ac­ter than when he left at the end of 2015.

Evans’ deal to con­test this year’s WRC in a DMACK World Rally Team Ford Fi­esta WRC was con­firmed ear­lier this week, bring­ing to an end what has been one the sport’s worst-kept se­crets in re­cent years.

M-sport will en­ter and run the DMACK Fi­esta and Evans will be the Cum­brian squad’s third reg­is­tered po­ten­tial point-scorer along­side Se­bastien Ogier and Ott Tanak. Af­ter be­ing benched from his full-time WRC seat last sea­son, Evans told MN he had learned plenty in his year in a Fi­esta R5 – a year when he won the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle and came close to win­ning WRC2.

“I never doubted this is what I wanted to do,” Evans said. “When I was on the out­side look­ing in last year, it re­ally ham­mered it home just how much I did want this. It would have been easy to spit the dummy out and say: ‘No, I don’t want to do that [drive the R5 car],’ but if I’d done that the re­sult would prob­a­bly have been that I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have driven a car again. I had to grit my teeth and get on with it.

“It’s fair to say the last year has tough­ened me up a bit and taught me plenty, it’s been a life ex­pe­ri­ence as much as any­thing else. I knew you could never take any­thing for granted in motorsport, but I know more than ever that no­body’s guar­an­teed their seat. When you’ve been through this kind of thing, you do come back with a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and you come back stronger.”

Evans added that he’d taken the time to scru­ti­nise his way of work­ing on events last year.

“I’ve worked on my tech­niques,” he said. “It’s true that I did an­a­lyse things an aw­ful lot and I think I was quite blink­ered in the way that I was look­ing at cer­tain things. I’ve got a much broader view of ev­ery­thing now.”

Evans will be present at the Autosport In­ter­na­tional Show to­mor­row (Thurs­day) morn­ing be­fore fly­ing out for his pre-event Monte Carlo test.

Evans was quick to pay trib­ute to both Mal­colm Wil­son and Dick Cor­mack (M-sport and DMACK man­ag­ing di­rec­tors) for the faith they showed in re­turn­ing him to a World Rally Car at the sport’s high­est level – not least when they were faced with the op­tion of run­ning An­dreas Mikkelsen in­stead of Evans.

Evans said: “It’s been great to see the loy­alty from both M-sport and DMACK to stick to the plan when it would have been easy for them to put some­body else in the car. I won the BRC with DMACK last year and I know how much those guys are putting into ev­ery­thing and the rate of devel­op­ment of new tyres is re­ally im­pres­sive. It’s re­ally nice to be at the cen­tre of that. We know in cer­tain con­di­tions this sea­son we’re go­ing to have an edge and we have to be ready to take ad­van­tage of that.”

DMACK came close to break­ing its WRC duck with Ott Tanak in Poland last year and the team is talk­ing in terms of po­ten­tial wins in 2017. Evans was more guarded on the sub­ject of what could be ex­pected in terms of re­sults.

“We’ve got a brand, spank­ing new car from M-sport and that’s so ex­cit­ing,” said Evans, “but no­body knows what any­body else has got. Let’s wait and see. Watch this space…”

Af­ter a year with Craig Parry, Evans will re­new his part­ner­ship with for­mer co-driver Dan Bar­ritt this sea­son.

“Dan and I feel there’s some unfinished busi­ness, if you like, but I want to say a big thank you to Craig – we achieved a lot and won a lot of ral­lies to­gether last year,” said Evans.

It’s not snow­ing in the Alps. Or at least it wasn’t. It is around mi­nus 10 de­grees at the Torsby heart of Rally Swe­den. But the green, grass can still be seen.

Around this time of the year, the World Rally Cham­pi­onship be­comes ob­sessed with the weather. Will it snow? What about some rain? If it rains, will it freeze? If it freezes, what time will it thaw? Get­ting your me­te­o­rol­ogy right is a key fac­tor in win­ning round one in Monte Carlo.

But just for once, wouldn’t it be nice if we could see some real snow on the moun­tains around Gap? How long has it been since the Monte or­gan­is­ers have been forced to can­cel a stage be­cause the road has be­come im­pass­able due to the depth of snow? I sus­pect Mau­rice Gat­sonides was still com­pet­ing…

There’s a ro­mance to a snowy Monte, as well as a real sense of ad­ven­ture for the crews. When it rains, round one be­comes lit­tle more than a wet and mis­er­able San­remo.

Noth­ing we can do about it though. We just have to get on with it, and try­ing to sec­ond guess what’ll come from the clouds sit­ting just above some of Europe’s high­est peaks is part and par­cel of what round one’s about.

The same can­not be said for Swe­den though. Last year’s event was saved by a mat­ter of hours. If the mar­gins are as close this time then more strin­gent mea­sures must be taken by WRC Pro­moter and the FIA. Much as I love Karl­stad and ad­mire the work put in by the Swedish or­gan­is­ers, the se­ries finds it­self col­lec­tively cross­ing its fingers as Jan­uary looks to Fe­bru­ary once more. Let’s be pos­i­tive: it’ll snow, it’ll snow, it’ll snow. And re­main far be­low zero. It’s around this time of the year that I would have been re­minded how much snow there had been on Montes and Swedish Ral­lies in years passed. Hap­pen­ing upon for­mer Autosport ral­lies ed­i­tor – then ed­i­tor, then pub­lisher – Peter Foubis­ter would have taken care of the next 10 or 15 min­utes as we re­mem­bered some of the clas­sic sea­son open­ers.

As many of you will be aware, Fou­bie passed away un­ex­pect­edly last Novem­ber and his fu­neral was in Ed­in­burgh last week. Later in the same week, the RAC Club in Lon­don hosted a gath­er­ing to cel­e­brate the life of one of its own.

Guests were greeted by one of Colin Mcrae’s 1995 Subaru Im­preza 555s in re­cep­tion and that set the tone for what was an un­de­ni­ably im­pres­sive group who came to re­mem­ber Peter.

Mal­colm Wil­son and David Richards talked of their mem­o­ries of Fou­bie, while David Coulthard and Al­lan Mc­nish got to­gether as an un­ex­pect­edly amus­ing dou­ble act in an ef­fort to read a mes­sage from Dario Fran­chitti. Sir Stirling Moss sent both con­do­lences and apolo­gies. Such is the mark of both men.

Fam­ily Foub were treated to a whirl­wind tour of a sport’s love for one of its gen­uine char­ac­ters and true greats. While the rest of us learned how Peter once woke with painted toe­nails…

Dis­trict Au­to­mo­bile Club Ltd’s com­mit­tee, it was de­cided that, due to the cur­rent fi­nan­cial un­cer­tain­ties of run­ning a for­est stage event, the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to can­cel the Grooms Garage Mid-wales Stages 2017 had to be made.”

The Bor­der Coun­ties Rally is a round of the Scot­tish cham­pi­onship, and tra­di­tion­ally takes part in the north­ern reaches of Kielder For­est.

The ad­di­tion of the Bor­der Coun­ties has been met with wide­spread back­ing from the BRC com­mu­nity, al­though adding the event does cause a headache for crews wish­ing to com­pete in the Ir­ish Tar­mac Cham­pi­onship and BRC.

The Pirelli Carlisle Rally clashes with Kil­lar­ney Rally of the Lakes, a round of the ITRC. The Bor­der Coun­ties falls on the same week­end as the West Cork Rally, cre­at­ing a new clash be­tween the two se­ries.

More de­tails on the Bor­der Coun­ties Rally are due to be an­nounced at the Autosport In­ter­na­tional Show this week (Jan­uary 12-15).

Evans will drive this car on his WRC re­turn So you’re back with El­fyn again – how did that come about? Why did you two part com­pany at the end of 2015? Did you fear your chance had gone? And it will be a chal­lenge to co-drive in th­ese cars? Have you notic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.