Melvyn Evans made his intentions abundantly clear at the weekend with a convincing victory on the Fix Auto Swansea Tour of Epynt, the first round of the 2009 Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.
The Llanwrda driver's Subaru Impreza WRC set a blisteringly fast time on the opening stage of the day, 16s quicker than his nearest rival, and followed it up with five more to maintain a lead that had built up to more than a minute-and-a half by the finish.
Defending MSA Asphalt Champion, David Kynaston was third overall in his Audi A3 Quattro –breaking Evans' run of times to go quickest on the final stage.
2008 giant-killer Simon Mauger is back in his Ford Escort MkII and fifth overall, in amongst some very impressive four-wheel drive company, would seem to indicate that he can repeat the feat this season.
Former National Gravel Champion David Mann, who is starting his second season of asphalt events, brought his Impreza WRC home in sixth place, one ahead of the Hyundai Accent WRC of 2007 Asphalt Champion Steve Simpson – who was forced to battle to the start after suffering gearbox issues the previous day on the Blackpool Stages.
Along with John Stone, Mark Jasper now forms part of a two-car team of MG Metro 6R4s prepared by Legend Motorsport. Unfortunately, the Stone car was forced out with clutch failure, but Jasper's version finished an excellent eighth overall.
2008 Richard Egger Insurance BTRDA Asphalt Rally Series champion Chris Jones carried on where he left off with ninth place – and top series points – in his Ford Focus STI.
Young Scot Ross Hunter is embarking on his first season of MSA Asphalt Championship events and has recently moved up from a Peugeot 205 to a Lancer EVO4. On unfamiliar territory, he finished 13th overall and took the John Horton Motorsport Management 'Star Performance' award.