Rookie Elfyn Evans sees plenty of areas for improvement before he hits peak performance in his debut season at the WRC’s top level.
The Welsh driver lies fifth in the standings, ahead of M-Sport team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, after impressive drives to sixth in Monte-Carlo and a career-best fourth in Mexico.
He is under instructions to gather experience rather than display pure speed, and during the first three rounds, which were new to him, he identified ways to increase his pace when he needs to.
“This year hasn’t been so much of a shock because I knew the level was extremely high, but I can see so many areas for improvement. It’s encouraging that on certain stages we are not embarrassed by our times,” Evans told wrc.com.
“It’s difficult to know at what point I will say ‘I’m going flat out’. Hopefully that won’t come for a fair time yet. I can still see room for improvement and scope to take more risks and so long as that is the case, and I can keep improving steadily, I will be OK.
“The worrying part would come when I think I’m going flat out, and drivers are still taking a lot of time from me. That would be quite discouraging,” said the Ford Fiesta RS pilot.
Improving consistency is Evans’ next target and he hopes familiarity with next month’s Rally de Portugal, which he has tackled twice previously, will help.
“The gaps to the leader are still roughly where I would expect them to be at the pace I’m going. You have to finish the rallies to get the results, but ultimately the gap to the leader is still what we’re looking at, and the gap on individual stages.
“The next thing to work on is to improve my consistency on individual stages, rather than being within so many seconds on one stage and being quite a bit slower on the next. We need to bring it a bit closer across the board,” explained Evans.