THERE was frustration for Elfyn Evans on round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship, when they were forced to retire on Friday after a severe compression pitched them off the road into a tree.
Evans and Daniel Barritt had started their Rally Italia Sardegna well and were just 0.5 seconds adrift of the lead after the opening Super Special, but unfortunately they would only manage two more stages.
Caught-out by a dip after a tightening corner on the first pass of Tula (SS4), the pairing slid off the road and duly sustained damaged the front-right suspension of their M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.
Returning to the stages under Rally 2 regulations, Evans focused on racking up the kilometres. Having missed out on valuable data through the opening speed tests, the Welshman tasked himself with delivering a clean run through the remaining kilometres, so as to collect vital information for future development.
“It’s fair to say that this weekend didn’t go our way, but we’ll focus on the positives and look forward to the next event in Poland,” said Evans, from Dolgellau.
“After the time loss on Friday it was really important to get the mileage under our belts. This is one of the most abrasive rallies of the year, and we collected a lot of data to put towards future development.”
Evans’ M-Sport teammate Ott Tänak meanwhile claimed his maiden FIA World Rally Championship victory in Italy by a margin of 12.3 secs, to climb to third in the championship standings.
Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala, driving a Toyota Yaris, finished in second place, with Belgium’s Thierry Neuville completing the podium in a Hyundai i20, a further 55.4 seconds behind the top crew.