Tuesday | 04 Aug 2015

Evans' spanner saves the day

Elfyn Evans has revealed how a humble 19mm ring spanner came to his rescue on Neste Oil Rally Finland after broken suspension threatened an early retirement.

The M-Sport driver was in sixth place on Friday morning when his Ford Fiesta RS ran wide early in the ultra-fast Ouninpohja stage. "We hit a massive rock very hard and straightaway I knew something was wrong," the Welshman told wrc.com.

"But the car kept driving okay so I continued at full speed. Eventually though the jumps gave it too much abuse and the suspension arm broke. When we got to the end, the right-rear wishbone was snapped in half and the wheel could move backwards and forwards freely in the arch."

Hungry for experience of the stages, and with six stages to go until the next scheduled service, Evans and his co-driver Dan Barritt got creative with the few spares they had in the car.

Evans said: "Our toolkit contained four or five spanners and some jubilee clips. The spanner was the first solution that came to mind, so I grabbed the biggest one and fastened it to the arm with the clips. Then we ratchet-strapped the arm in place and that was it. Actually it was a bit of a cheat because I'd once used a spanner like this to fix a gear linkage."

"We re-did the repair after every stage. It was a long afternoon with the wheel hanging off, but we still had to go quite quickly not to lose too much time. We had to do whatever we could to get the car through and thankfully we did."

Having run for more than 85 stage kilometres with the spanner in place, Evans reached the sanctuary of the M-Sport service area for a proper repair. Team boss Malcolm Wilson described Evans and Barritt’s improvised fix as 'phenomenal'.

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