Contesting the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry closed their WRC 2 campaign in style today – securing their third victory of the year at the legendary Tour de Corse.
Taking an early lead, the Welshman set a stunning time through the opening speed test – 17.9 seconds faster than their nearest rival.
Posting the fastest time through five of the ten stages, the pairing maintained their lead throughout the weekend and bolstered their advantage through the treacherous conditions which plagued yesterday’s second loop.
As the heavens opened, the WRC 2 competitors were caught in the worst of the rain and Evans’ natural ability to read the road held him in excellent stead. Able to find the grip that others could not, he stormed ahead.
Maintaining their healthy advantage throughout today’s closing stages, Evans and Parry cruised home to secure maximum points and have done all they can to keep their championship challenge alive.
Having had the pace to challenge for victory on every event this year, the Welshmen have proved the performance of M-Sport’s most successful global rally car – with stage-winning speed on every event – and done so without the luxury of a large test programme.
A small team have worked alongside Evans this season, and he has truly taken the fight to his rivals. Despite strong competition, the Fiesta has held the lead of the championship throughout the year and he is yet to be toppled from the head of the standings.
Evans’ season started superbly at Rallye Monte-Carlo back in January. Mastering the notoriously difficult stages, the Welshman was in a class of his own and two punctures could not prevent him from taking a well-deserved and impressive victory.
A second victory followed at Rally Sweden when he outclassed all of his Scandinavian rivals on what was only the third winter rally of his career.
Bad luck was to shadow him throughout the mid-season, but this weekend’s win means that the championship laurels are still within grasp.
Having contested all seven of his WRC 2 rounds for this year, the team must now wait to see if he can be caught – and if Evans and Parry can be crowned the 2016 WRC 2 champions.
Elfyn Evans said:
“Overall it has been a good weekend for us. We started off really strongly and were able to amass quite a big lead after the first stage. We stretched that lead yesterday afternoon and then it was just a case of managing everything and bringing it home.
“We’ve done all we can this weekend and kept our championship challenge alive, but now it is very much a case of wait and see.
“We had a very good start to the season – with wins in Monte-Carlo and Sweden – but luck wasn’t on our side during the mid-season. For various reasons we weren’t able to challenge for more wins, but I think we’ve proved that we had the speed to do that.
“As I say, we’ve done all that we can and we’ll just have to wait and see what the others can do over the remainder of the season.”
Craig Parry said:
“We’ve seen a great deal of the island over the course of the weekend and it really is a beautiful place. Every co-driver will know that it’s a fairly hefty workload – from the pre-event recce to the rally itself – but it really has been an enjoyable weekend and great to get such a positive result at the end of it.
“As Elfyn says, we’ve done everything we can this weekend and kept the championship challenge alive. It would be nice to add another title to the repertoire this year, but that’s not in our hands anymore. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s been another fantastic weekend for Elfyn and Craig with another dominant victory in the WRC 2 category. Everyone knows how competitive Elfyn is here and he proved that with some very impressive stage times – managing the whole event and securing our target of maximum points.
“The pair of them have had a great season. They had the speed to win every event this year, and have done so without the luxury of a large test programme. We have a small team working alongside them, but they have truly taken the fight to their rivals and proved that the Fiesta R5 is capable of winning on every surface.
“Luck might not have been on their side, but they have certainly proved themselves and now it will be up to the others to try and catch them.”