Tuesday | 29 Sep 2015

Wilson backs Corsican debutants

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes Corsica rookies Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak could upset the form book at this week’s Tour de Corse - Rallye de France.

His squad is the only major team whose drivers have no experience of the twisty and narrow asphalt mountain roads of the Mediterranean island rally, which returns to the WRC for the first time since 2008.

But while acknowledging that experience will be important, Wilson feels a strong pre-event test allied to good pace from the Ford Fiesta RS at the previous asphalt encounter in Germany is reason enough to be confident.

“The Tour de Corse is an event that is truly unique. Experience could well count for a lot and with Elfyn and Ott having no previous experience of this rally, it’s fair to say they could be at something of a disadvantage.

“Having said that, we know the car can perform on asphalt and with a good test under our belts I hope we will be able to spring a surprise or two. We’ve learnt a lot since Germany and we know both drivers have the pace to ruffle a few feathers,” he said.

Evans was the only driver to prevent a Volkswagen clean sweep of stage victories in Germany and is keen to banish memories of a torrid weekend at the previous round in Australia earlier this month.

“Since the last Tarmac outing in Germany I feel as though we’ve been able to make a step forward. When everything was perfect, our speed was pretty good, but it’s also fair to say we struggled in the afternoon’s higher temperatures.

“We’ve had a day-and-a-half of testing before this event and I’m feeling quite confident that we’ve progressed. Of course time will tell when we get to the rally, but for the moment I’m feeling fairly optimistic,” said the Welshman.

Tänak tested for a similar period and said: “We just need to stay calm throughout the weekend and see what happens, but hopefully we can surprise a few people and come away with a strong result.”

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