Friday | 12 Feb 2016

Evans repels Nordic WRC 2 challenge in Sweden

Elfyn Evans held off a pack of charging snow and ice specialists to lead WRC 2 after Friday’s opening leg of Rally Sweden.

The Welshman, who won the WRC’s principal support category at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, was 17.1sec clear of seven Nordic drivers, headed by Swede Fredrik Ählin. Norway’s Anders Grøndal was third, 38.0sec behind Evans.

Evans won three of the six special stages in a Ford Fiesta R5 in increasingly wintry conditions on both sides of the Sweden - Norway border. Although he briefly conceded the initiative to Ählin, once back in front Evans pulled clear.

“I didn’t have a great run in the final stage because the grip was changeable, but I’m happy with my day. There are some big expectations after Monte-Carlo and I’m keen to show that win was no fluke,” said Evans.

Ählin won one stage and maintained his front-running pace despite a sticking throttle in his Fiesta R5 which he overcame by attaching an elastic strap to the pedal.

Grøndal spun in the final stage but finished 4.5sec ahead of Pontus Tidemand, who won a stage and was inside the top three until losing 50sec in SS7 with a broken front driveshaft in his Skoda Fabia R5. He replaced it on the following liaison section.

Emil Bergqvist was fifth in a DS 3 R5, despite sickness affecting both him and co-driver Joakim Sjöberg, with Marius Aasen completing the top six.

Eyvind Brynildsen was in the top six until a broken driveshaft left the Norwegian in two-wheel drive this afternoon, while Esapekka Lappi slid from second to ninth after spinning his Fabia R5 and becoming stuck in the penultimate stage.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rally Sweden

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