Elfyn Evans harbours a soft spot for the Italian island of Sardinia and hopes that his last visit will stand him in good stead this weekend.

Having made his world rally car debut at Rally Italia Sardegna last year, this week's return provides the only rally of the year at which the Welshman has already experienced the power and performance of the Fiesta RS WRC.

Last year's outing provided something of a novelty for the youngster. Plunged into the unknown, Evans tackled the rally for the first time with just three days preparation. With a new car and a new co-driver, he overcame all the odds. Eclipsing the efforts of the WRC's most recent champions on their equivalent debuts, the Welshman secured a sensational sixth place finish which prompted his promotion to the WRC's highest division.

But Evans won't let the familiar circumstances draw his focus. Determined to continue his development, the youngster has been working hard to ensure that he is in the best possible position to continue his progression.

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"It will be nice to go back to an event where I have already experienced the power and performance of a world rally car, but I'm not going to let that affect my focus too much," he confirmed, "The plan is still to learn as much as we can whilst developing our speed at this level.

"This year will certainly be easier than last year, however. Twelve months ago, I was completely thrown into the unknown. I found out that I would be doing the rally three days before the recce began. I had never driven the Fiesta RS WRC in competition, I had never tackled the Sardinian stages and I had never had to adapt to a new co-driver quite that quickly!

"Thankfully, we overcame all of that. Thanks to the hard work of the team and [co-driver] Giovanni [Bernacchini], we were able to secure a really good result and I think that is one of the reasons why I have been given this fantastic opportunity. Needless to say, this will always be a very special event for me.

Having studied all of his notes and onboard videos from the previous year, the M-Sport man also travelled out to Sardinia a little earlier than planned to best acclimatised to the high temperatures with a specially-designed fitness regime.

"It's fair to say that Sardinia is a little warmer than Cumbria at the moment, so it's important for me to ensure that I am fully adjusted to the climate," he explained.

"[Current co-driver] Dan [Barritt] and I have spent a lot of time since Argentina looking through all of the onboards and ensuring that my notes are as accurate as they can be - forty per cent of the rally will be completely new but, for the familiar 60 per cent, I think that we are well prepared to continue progressing and developing our speed."