Tuesday | 02 May 2017

A bridge too far for Evans

This was the moment when a maiden victory slipped away from Elfyn Evans at YPF Rally Argentina in one of the most exciting finishes in WRC history.

Defending a slender lead of 0.6sec going into Sunday’s final Power Stage, the rear left of his Ford Fiesta brushed against one of the famous bridges a handful of kilometres from the finish of the legendary El Condor test.

It was enough to allow Thierry Neuville to slip ahead and claim a fourth career victory by 0.7sec in his Hyundai i20 Coupe, something that appeared improbable little more than 24 hours earlier when Evans lead the Belgian by more than a minute.

After a day in which brake problems and an overheating engine hampered Evans’ quest for victory, the Welshman was honest enough to admit this was his error.

“I made a mistake. It was feeling really good in the first half. I was pushing very hard and towards the end I was really losing the rear end grip,” he told wrc.com.

“I was having to be very patient which was losing time and I wasn’t patient enough over the bridge. I hit it which cost a little bit, but if you don’t try you don’t get anything.

“I slowed down but the rear was still going, going, going. I was slow enough to get the front through the bridge, but I couldn’t stop the rear from sliding.”

Although Evans was naturally bitterly disappointed, he picked out the positives from a rally which he led from Friday morning until Sunday’s dramatic finale and won seven stages.

“I’ve never led a rally for this long, I don’t think I have been this strong in terms of performance before. It’s a milestone for me and we’ll use it as confidence going forward.

“There were a few mistakes scattered through the weekend which cost us here and there. To do a champion’s drive, to win a rally, then they need to be eliminated. They weren’t big mistakes but they were there,” he said.


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