19 October 2014
WRC: Evans looking for change of fortune in Spain
After two frustrating outings in Spain, Elfyn Evans is looking forward to his luck turning on the WRC's only dual-surface event of 2014.
M-Sport duo Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt head to next weekend's RallyRACC - Rally de España in buoyant mood after a promising pre-event test, but know that they need to shed recent misfortune on the event if they are to continue an encouraging run of 2014 results.
The pair have previous experience of the Spanish round, having contested it as part of the FIA WRC Academy and WRC 2 categories in 2012 and 2013 respectively and, having shown some impressive pace behind the wheel of his Fiesta RS WRC on asphalt already this season, the Welshman is equally as keen to showcase his potential on the loose surface portion of the WRC's only mixed-surface round.
“We've not had a massive amount of luck at this rally, but it's one that I enjoy and I hope that we can turn that around next week,” the Briton commented, “I'm up for the challenge and will hopefully be able to take another step forward.
“We've shown some promising pace on asphalt this year and, to be fair, our speed on gravel hasn't been bad either. We've shown some good pace on individual splits, but it would be good to see that translated over a full stage distance. I don't have any specific goals in mind, but if I can do that and challenge some of the more experienced guys on both surfaces, then I think it could be another good event for us.”
It's not just the drivers who have a chance to shine next week, however, as M-Sport's team of technicians are assigned the task of converting each Ford Fiesta RS WRC from gravel to tarmac specification in just 75 minutes, lowering the ride height and changing a number of components such as the suspension, brakes, gearbox, rear differential, steering rack and cross members.
The M-Sport team conducted a thorough pre-event test on the Spanish tarmac to ensure that its all-British crew is fully prepared to attack the black-top stages of the event's decisive final stages, and Evans knows that being able to make a swift transition from one surface to the next is paramount if he is to achieve his aim of a good result.
“It can be a bit strange going from one surface to the next as the car goes from being quite loose [on gravel] to feeling as though it's on rails [on asphalt],” Evans noted, “That feeling generally only lasts for one stage; you soon get into the groove and if you've had a good test and deciphered the best set-up for the tarmac stages, it's not too much of a drama.
“The Spanish tarmac is very different from what we have previously experienced in Germany and France. It's a lot wider and smoother. It poses its own challenges, but we had a positive test so let's see what we can do. It's hard to tell how everyone will fare until we get to the event and see who has determined the best set-up for the new tyres on these different roads, but we learnt a lot and the feeling is positive.”
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