M-Sport World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans had arrived in Mexico simply hoping to get some decent experience in one of the most gruelling and difficult gravel rallies of the entire WRC season. Just getting to the end would have been achievement enough for the 25-year-old Welshman in the circumstances.

But on Sunday, Evans didn't just make it to the end of Rally Mexico - he crossed the line in an impressive fourth place, a career-best result in the championship and a huge achievement for his first outing in the event.

"I certainly didn't come here expecting to finish fourth," said Evans afterwards. "Simply to finish would have been an achievement given how little experience we have on these kinds of stages and how many of the top drivers were caught out!

"We put in some strong performances on some individual stages and identified a few areas for improvement as the weekend went on," he added. "It's all part of the learning curve and we're really looking forward to Portugal."

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Evans and his co-driver Daniel Barritt resisted the temptation of overreaching himself in an effort to get on the podium, and were praised by the team for the "real maturity" they had shown behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in what is only Evans' fourth event for M-Sport.

"It has been a very encouraging weekend for us," said team principal, Malcolm Wilson. "Elfyn is progressing really well and his fourth place, his best ever finish in the WRC, is thoroughly well deserved.

"He wasn't drawn into any unnecessary battles and did exactly what was asked of him," Wilson added, clearly very pleased with his driver's efforts. "All in all a very mature drive from a driver who has the potential to do extremely well in the future.

Evans' team mate Mikko Hirvonen also managed to fight back back to eighth place by the end of the rally, having earlier been forced to accept Rally 2 regulations after a high temperature reading on the IDU (driver injector unit) through Friday's second pass of 'Las Minas' (SS8).