Wednesday | 18 May 2016

Evans tops bumper WRC 2 field in Portugal

Championship leader Elfyn Evans heads the strongest WRC 2 entry of the season at this week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

The first European gravel round of the campaign has attracted 26 competitors and the Welshman knows that a single slip at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5 will allow his rivals to eat into his 20-point advantage.
Second-placed Hubert Ptaszek is the only driver who can displace Evans from top spot. To do so, the Pole must win with Evans failing to score, and Ptaszek has boosted his chances by reverting to the Skoda Fabia R5 in which he began the season after two rounds in a Peugeot 208 T16.
Nicolas Fuchs, whose win at the previous round in Argentina promoted him to third in the points, also drives a Fabia R5 while another to watch out for is Teemu Suninen. The young Finn piloted his Fiesta R5 to victory in Mexico, his only outing so far this year.
Other front-runners include Pontus Tidemand, sixth in the points after finishing second in Sweden, Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Frenchman Quentin Gilbert, who claimed a podium in the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo. And keep an eye out for last year’s European junior champion Emil Bergkvist in Citroën’s DS 3 R5.
Many drivers begin their season in Portugal. Likely contenders among those are Skoda Motorsport’s Jan Kopecky, a category winner in Germany last year, and Australian Scott Pedder, who has swapped the Fiesta R5 he drove in 2015 for a Fabia R5.
Other season debutants include Belgian Ghislain de Mevius and Hungarian Frigyes Turán.

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