M-Sport's Elfyn Evans says his fourth place finish on Rally Italia Sardegna was a lot more than he expected after his "disastrous" start.

The Welshman lost more than three minutes on the opening morning with driveshaft issues leaving him a lowly 17th and then in the afternoon he struggled for confidence.

However, he gradually got more in the groove the following day and hauled himself back up the leaderboard, peaking with a third fastest time on the final day.

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Speaking at the finish he admitted that the rhythm he had enjoyed at the start of the season had still not fully returned, but he was nonetheless a lot happier.

"After a disastrous Friday I was really disappointed and finishing fourth then was unthinkable," Evans said immediately after the final stage.

"I wish that the rhythm was different on Friday, but we are still here. Not the performance of the year, certainly, but we [still] got some good experience of the whole rally."

"It's a very unexpected result after the issues we had on Friday," he elaborated back in service. "It's fair to say that we had a difficult start for various reasons.

"Obviously we had the issue with the driveshaft on Friday morning and then after that I just couldn't seem to get into the flow of it.

"We needed to start again on Saturday and I think it was a fairly solid run. We didn't take any risks or chances but had a good rhythm which was a nice change from the day before! By the end of the day our fifth place was secured and when Mads [Ostberg] encountered problems we moved up another place on Sunday.

"It's been a difficult couple of rallies, but the feeling is gradually coming back and I'm sure we'll be back on it in Poland. It's a fast rally so it could be a bit of a shock to the system, but hopefully we can get up to speed and have a good run."