Evans: 'Nobody was getting in the way'
Elfyn Evans says the bitter disappointment of missing out on his first WRC win by 0.7s in Argentina this year was what spurred him on to success at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.
The M-Sport World Rally Team driver was the class of the field in Wales as he led for all three days and secured a winning margin of 37.3sec on home soil.
It was the first outright victory of his WRC career and he also became the first Briton to win his home event since Richard Burns took victory in 2000 with Subaru.
The 28-year-old, who has enjoyed his most successful WRC season to date after finishing second in Argentina and Finland, admitted he used the frustration he experienced in Argentina – where Thierry Neuville pipped him to victory by less than a second – as a catalyst to make history on Wales' wet and muddy forest stages.
"Thierry denied me the first time around, but to be honest half way around [Wales Rally GB] I was determined nobody was going to get in the way this time," he said. "In terms of the feeling, I felt it was within my reach all the time. I like this feeling and want more of it."
Evans managed his Rally GB perfectly, particularly as patchy fog in Saturday night's Aberhirnant stage threatened to turn the leaderboard on its head.
He also showed himself to be masterful at managing his DMACK tyres – albeit in damp and muddy road conditions that many of his rivals thought favoured his soft rubber.
He said: "After shakedown, I think we knew that if conditions came to us then we had the speed there to challenge for victory. But you can never predict anything with this rally. To have a clean run with no problems and no mistakes, no spins, is very difficult here.
"And we’ve had to balance the endurance of the tyre package. We’ve had the performance, but we’ve had to manage the life of the tyres as well. All-in-all, it came together."
Taking his maiden WRC on home soil and being part of such a memorable day for the British-based M-Sport is a memory that Evans will never forget.
"Overall, I'm really pleased and, combined with everything else for the whole team, with Seb [Ogier] and the manufacturers’ crown, it’s been a special day," he added.
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