24 June 2013
Rally Italia Sardegna: 'Outstanding' sixth for Evans
Elfyn Evans: This result means a great deal. To finish sixth on my debut [in a WRC car] is massive!
Elfyn Evans took a brilliant sixth place finish on Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend, his debut event in a World Rally car.
Evans, who was competing in Nasser Al-Attiyah's Qatar World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC, faced a number of firsts, and in addition to it being his first outing in a WRC car, it was also his first run on this event and his first outing with co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.
Yet he rose to the challenge and kept his head, gaining experience and upping his pace with each competitive kilometre. In the end he had a good final day tussle with Michal Kosciuszko, and edged out the Pole for P6 by just 0.9 seconds.
The result is one of the highest placed finishes for a driver on their WRC debut and certainly marks him out as one-to-watch.
“It's been a great weekend,” said Elfyn, who is of course the son of former WRC driver and BRC Champion, Gwyndaf Evans. “It didn't start off so easy for us – we knew it was always going to be difficult. But we got better and better as the weekend went on. When others hit problems, we managed to stay on the road and the result came in the end.
“I just want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity – it's been an absolutely fantastic experience and we both [Giovanni Bernacchini, co-driver, and I] really enjoyed it.”
“I certainly didn't expect to finish in the top-six before the event – I wasn't sure that I would make it to the finish let alone finish in sixth so it is very pleasing to be here. I've learnt masses,” Elfyn continued. “It's fantastic preparation for Finland with the Ford Fiesta R5 and I've learnt so much about how to get the most out of the car, the event, and working with a different co-driver. Giovanni has been excellent so big thanks to him.
“Obviously this result means a great deal. To finish sixth on my debut is massive! I'm not sure what it means for the future, but it's definitely improved my skills as a driver and provided me with more knowledge and experience than I could have ever hoped for. It's brilliant. I can't stop smiling!”
Qatar M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added: “Elfyn's performance was outstanding. This was always going to be a difficult event for him – his first time in the WRC car, his first time at Rally Italia and his first time with Giovanni [Bernacchini, co-driver] – but he mastered the challenge brilliantly.
“He was constantly improving and I think this experience will make him all the more competitive when he returns to WRC 2 in Finland. We certainly made the right decision by putting him in the car.”
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