The 24-year-old Welshman delivered one of the most impressive performances in Sardinia, driving a controlled rally to finish sixth on his debut in a Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car, as stand-in for Qatar World Rally Team driver Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The result was the highest finishing position yet for any winner of an FIA junior rallying series on their World Rally Car debut – putting him ahead of other Junior champions like Sebastien Loeb and current WRC leader Sebastien Ogier.
Evans won the WRC Academy in 2012 - renamed the Junior WRC this year - and is now driving an M-Sport-prepared Fiesta in the WRC-2 category as part of his prize. From Finland onwards he will drive the latest R5 model.
Despite just a week’s notice that he’d be competing in Sardinia, and no pre-event testing, Evans’ confidence grew with each stage and he held off a determined challenge from Michal Kosciuszko to finish less than a second clear after the event’s sixteen stages.
Evans said: “I just want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity – Malcolm [Wilson], Nasser and of course everyone involved in last year's WRC Academy. Without the WRC Academy, this opportunity wouldn't have been available, so I am very grateful to everyone who helped me along the way last year.”
Besides this being Evans’ first appearance in a World Rally Car, the result was particularly impressive as he’d also never competed in Sardinia before and it was the first time that he had worked with All-Attiyah’s co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.
“I certainly didn’t expect to finish in the top-six before the event – I wasn’t sure that I would make it to the finish let alone finish in sixth - so it is very pleasing,” said Evans, “
“I’ve learnt masses. It’s fantastic preparation for Finland with the R5 and I’ve learnt so much about how to get the most out of the car, the event, and working with a different co-driver. Giovanni has been excellent so big thanks to him.”
Qatar Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson, said: “Elfyn’s performance was outstanding. This was always going to be a difficult event for him but he mastered the challenge brilliantly. He was constantly improving and I think this experience will make him all the more competitive when he returns to WRC 2 in Finland. We certainly made the right decision by putting him in the car."