27 April 2015
WRC Rally Argentina: “Historic” first podium for Evans
Elfyn Evans: We did not come here expecting a podium, so it really is a fantastic feeling which probably hasn't quite sunk in yet!
M-Sport's Elfyn Evans has conceded he didn't expect to take his maiden WRC podium on Rally Argentina, a result hailed as “historic” for the Welshman by team boss, Malcolm Wilson.
Evans, who finished fourth in Mexico last month, moved up into third on the final day, when Jari-Matti Latvala had engine problems, and while he had a scare in the final test – having to limp through with suspected suspension issues – he had more than enough in hand over Martin Prokop in fourth.
Indeed he finished almost 3 minutes ahead, having shown flashes of speed in his Fiesta RS WRC, including going third fastest in SS3 and SS5.
“We did not come here expecting a podium, so it really is a fantastic feeling which probably hasn't quite sunk in yet!” said Evans, who is only in his second full-year at the top level.
“It has been a crazy rally with so much drama so it feels great to have made it through with such a positive result.
“Our plan was to air on the side of caution. We wanted to improve on last year, but we also wanted a mistake-free run which seems to have been the best strategy.
“We had a really strong car all weekend and we didn't have a touch except for when I made a slight error on the first morning.
“A big thanks to the team for putting a very strong car together. It has been a rough rally for everybody, [but] combined with the [right] approach and the right car this has been the result.”
Evans also paid tribute to Kris Meeke after his fellow countryman took his debut win – it meant there were two Brits on the rostrum, something that hasn't happened since Rally New Zealand in 2001 with the late greats, Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
“I have to say hats off to Kris and Paul [Nagle – his co-driver] too,” Evans continued.
“They did an absolutely incredible job this weekend. They were the fastest crew from the start and really controlled it from there on in.
"It is a great result for them, and it is a great result for British rallying.”
Meanwhile, Wilson believes this third place is just the start for Evans and is convinced that the new Fiesta RS WRC – due for the next event in Portugal – will help boost him and the team further.
“It is an historic event for Elfyn. It is only his second season and he has already secured his first podium! The way he approached this event was very impressive. He was able to show speed, but he also knows when to control it – a rare talent in such a young and inexperienced driver,” Wilson noted.
“His result this weekend also promotes him into fourth place in the championship and I think that he should be extremely pleased with the job he has done.
"It certainly bodes well for Portugal when we launch the new car, and I am confident that we can start to challenge for podiums more consistently as the season goes on.”
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