2012 FIA WRC Academy winner Elfyn Evans will become part of the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team when he claims his sought-after prize for winning the series next month, M-Sport has announced.
Becoming the sixth driver to adopt the Qatari colours, the Welshman will pilot an M-Sport run Ford Fiesta in the new WRC 2 category. Taking to the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RRC for Rally de Portugal, Evans will then return to the series with the company's latest challenger – the Ford Fiesta R5 – when it is released later in the season.
Evans' Fiesta will run alongside the Ford Fiesta RS WRCs of Mads Ostberg, Evgeny Novikov, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Thierry Neuville in the Manufacturers' designated service area.
The youngster will be 'fully integrated' within the team and will 'benefit from a wealth of advice and experience' – not only from the team's specialist engineers and technicians, but also from the other drivers and team management.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I want to say a big thank you to M-Sport and to Nasser for allowing me to develop alongside the team,” Evans commented. “It only goes to show how strong the prize for winning the [WRC Academy [re-branded as the FIA Junior World Rally Championship for 2013] is. Nowhere else could a young driver hope for such an opportunity and I am really looking forward to starting the season and developing my career with the team.”
M-Sport managing director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, added: “M-Sport has always worked to develop the careers of up-and-coming young drivers. Elfyn is a talented driver with a promising career ahead of him and this prize will give him the best opportunity to learn from the entire team and develop as a world class driver.
“The scheme also shows Ford and M-Sport's 'Ladder of Opportunity' at its best. Elfyn started rallying with the Ford Fiesta ST when he contested the FordFiesta SportTrophy series in 2007 and has grown with the Fiesta R2 through the WRC Academy. He'll now progress to the Ford Fiesta RRC – and eventually the Fiesta R5 – and I am sure it won't be long until we see him challenging for results at the highest level.”
“Once again we are seeing how the FIA's junior series is developing young drivers and giving them the opportunity to make that step in to the FIA World Rally Championship. We all wish Elfyn the best of luck with his career,” chipped in FIA WRC manager, Michele Mouton.