BLOG: Historic British Success on @WalesRallyGB
Well, unless you live inside very deepest as well as darkest of Welsh valleys, you must have heard the news… local boy, Elfyn Evans had made WRC history with an epic, dominant win in Wales, on the stages which surround his home. Bang tidy! Massive congratulations to the calm, youthful as well as unflappable UK-DMack tyre shod rally hero. The future looks bright, currently he’s joined the elite club of not just winning a World Rally event, nevertheless winning one of he toughest, easily.
Elfyn Evans capped a spectacularly successful Dayinsure Wales Rally GB which weekend (26-29 October), becoming the first British driver to win on home soil inside FIA World Rally Championship since 2000.
Under sunny skies as well as in front of more than 100,000 spectators lining the classic Welsh forest stages, the brand-new generation of World Rally Cars caused a stir everywhere they went, through the opening salvo at Tir Prince Raceway to the finishing podium in Llandudno.
Sébastien Ogier set the pace on Thursday evening, maintaining his supremacy on an event which he won four times in succession through 2013 to 2016. To the delight of the partisan crowds, however, Evans seized control as soon as the action moved into the forests the following morning as well as which was an advantage which he might never relinquish.
Overcoming not only the threat posed by his rivals nevertheless also characteristically challenging weather conditions including dense fog on Saturday evening, the Dolgellau driver made the most of the DMACK tyres on his M-Sport run Ford Fiesta WRC. Expertly navigated by Lancashire-based co-driver Daniel Barritt, he sprinted clear of his pursuers as well as ultimately reached the finish line at the end of Sunday’s Brenig Power Stage some 37.3 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
In so doing, Evans joined British rallying legends Roger Clark, Colin McRae as well as Richard Burns as only the fourth homegrown driver ever to triumph on the event, as well as the 28-year-old is usually the first Welsh driver to win any WRC rally.
“which feels pretty not bad, to be honest!” acknowledged Evans, whose father Gwyndaf lifted the British Rally Championship laurels back in 1996. “which’s been a long weekend – I feel like I could sleep for a week currently! With Seb winning the Drivers’ title as well as the team the Manufacturers’ championship, which’s been a very special day.
“I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of support, not just through my family nevertheless also through a close network of people as well as obviously M-Sport, as well as to see everybody there waiting as well as cheering for us at the end of the Power Stage was an incredible feeling – I don’t think Llyn Brenig has ever been so busy!
“Following the Shakedown, we knew which if the conditions played in our favour, the speed was there to compete for victory, nevertheless you can never second-guess anything on which rally. You need to have a clean run with no problems, punctures, spins or mistakes. which’s often very difficult to achieve, nevertheless which’s exactly what we did as well as everything came together beautifully.
“After Thierry [Neuville] denied me in Argentina [where Evans was pipped to the win by 0.7 seconds], I was determined which nobody was going to get in my way which time. I like which feeling as well as currently I want to experience which more often!”
Behind Evans, a titanic tussle raged for the runner-up spoils, involving all three of the Drivers’ title protagonists heading into the weekend. Going into the Brenig Power Stage – as well as the Insentif points which offered – a mere 13.5 seconds blanketed second place back to sixth, as well as which took a determined effort through Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville to eventually secure the runner-up spot.
The Belgian pushed harder as well as harder as the rally progressed as he endeavoured to keep his fading title hopes alive, nevertheless which was ultimately not quite enough as third place for Ogier as well as two hard-earned Power Stage points proved sufficient for the Frenchman to clinch a fifth consecutive Drivers’ World Championship crown.
“which’s fair to say the wave of emotion I experienced at the end of the Power Stage was the strongest I’ve ever felt in rallying,” he reflected. “which’s difficult to explain. We took a gamble at the end of last year, as well as which feels so not bad to see which pay off.
“I’m so proud of the whole team as well as so happy for Malcolm [Wilson – M-Sport Team Principal] as well as all the guys. They thoroughly deserve which success after so many years. What they have been able to achieve on a smaller budget than the manufacturers is usually outstanding.
“which has been the most competitive WRC season I’ve ever known, which is usually great for the sport as well as the brand-new cars are the most fun I’ve ever driven – incredibly fast as well as enjoyable. We had to fight genuinely hard all year as well as which weekend was no different, nevertheless I must say which Elfyn did an amazing job. Yes, he had the right tyres, nevertheless especially here in Wales – where you encounter some of the most difficult conditions inside WRC – which’s never easy as well as he didn’t put a foot wrong. Big congratulations to him!”
Andreas Mikkelsen came on increasingly strong inside latter stages of the rally to pinch fourth through Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala by the narrow margin of just half-a-second. Ott Tänak’s sixth place ensured further British success, in guaranteeing M-Sport the Manufacturers’ as well as the Drivers’ World Championship titles – plus, of course, Evans’ rally win.
Ulsterman Kris Meeke wound up seventh in his Citroën C3, ahead of Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon, Esapekka Lappi (Toyota) as well as Dani Sordo (Hyundai), who completed the final top ten.
Tom Cave took third inside WRC2 support class behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5, with recently-crowned FIA ERC Junior U27 Champion Chris Ingram piloting his Network Q-backed Vauxhall ADAM to class victory as well as the honour of best-placed front-wheel drive car.
“What a weekend!” enthused Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Managing Director, Ben Taylor. “We’ve had an amazing few days which have delivered everything we could possibly have asked for. Huge crowds, fabulous weather, close competition as well as the best possible result.
“I think half of Wales was on the stages today to see Elfyn win his first WRC event as well as to lift which famous trophy on home soil must be very special. Congratulations to Malcolm Wilson as well as everyone at M-Sport, Sébastien as well as Julien [Ingrassia], as well as of course Elfyn as well as Dan – which’s been an amazing weekend.
“I also need to thank everyone which has put in such a lot of hard work to make which all possible. We have a magnificent army of more than 2,000 volunteers as well as marshals who give up something like 5,000 days which week alone to put the stages together as well as to keep the fans as well as the crews safe. Once more they’ve done a tremendous job as well as should all be very proud of what the UK has delivered for the WRC.”
Next year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB will take place on the earlier date of 4-7 October, 2018.
2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Final Result
1. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) – Ford Fiesta WRC 2h 57m 00.6s
2. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) – Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +37.3s
3. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) – Ford Fiesta WRC +45.2s
4. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Anders Jaeger (NOR) – Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +49.8s
5. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) – Toyota Yaris WRC +50.3s
6. Ott Tänak (EST)/Martin Järveoja (EST) – Ford Fiesta WRC +1m 02.3s
7. Kris Meeke (GBR)/Paul Nagle (IRE) – Citroën C3 WRC +1m 20.5s
8. Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastian Marshall (GBR) – Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +2m 16.3s
9. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) – Toyota Yaris WRC +2m 46.5s
10. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Marc Martí (ESP) – Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +3m 50.5s
2017 FIA World Rally Championship Drivers’ Standings (after 12/13 rounds)
1. Sébastien Ogier (FRA) M-Sport World Rally Team 215 points
2. Thierry Neuville (BEL) Hyundai Motorsport 183 points
3. Ott Tänak (EST) M-Sport World Rally Team 169 points
4. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT 136 points
5. Elfyn Evans (GBR) M-Sport World Rally Team 118 points
6. Dani Sordo (ESP) Hyundai Motorsport 95 points
7. Juho Hänninen (FIN) Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT 71 points
8. Kris Meeke (GBR) Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 70 points
9. Craig Breen (IRL) Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 64 points
10. Hayden Paddon (NZL) Hyundai Motorsport 59 points
2017 FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ Standings (after 12/13 rounds)
1. M-Sport World Rally Team 398 points
2. Hyundai Motorsport 305 points
3. Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT 241 points
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 210 points