Evans turns strongman
to avoid Rally 2

Welshman Elfyn Evans had to push his Fiesta RS uphill for 150 metres to reach Friday’s midpoint service and avoid retirement from the opening day of Rallye de France – Alsace.

Assisted by navigator Dan Barritt, the M-Sport World Rally team driver flexed his muscles after his car developed an electrical problem on the third stage and expired altogether 50km later, on the approach to the midday service. 

“The engine cut out just before we came into sight of the in-control, so we were lucky,” said Evans, who was fourth before the incident.

“I always expected to get to the end of the stage after the warning lights came on, but how long after that I wasn’t sure. On the road section we talked to our engineers and nursed the car back using as little power as possible.

“We had to push the last bit. It wasn’t so bad pushing in a straight line, but turn a corner and the diffs tighten - and that made it hard. I feel alright now, but I didn’t at the time. I don’t think I’m ready for World’s Strongest Man just yet.”

The pair’s show of strength wasn’t enough to prevent a 1m40sec time penalty for arriving 10 minutes late, but in his first full season in a World Rally Car, and after a impressive start in France, Evans’ priority was another shot at the morning loop.

Evans said: “Okay, we got a penalty but we’re still here and we got to do the afternoon stages. That’s a better outcome than Rally 2.”
 
“It was going well up to that point, which was a bit surprising to be honest because the feeling inside the car was not great. I was struggling to get to grips with the new tyres and the car seemed to be moving about a lot. The goal now is to get more experience with the tyres on the rest of the event.”

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