ELFYN Evans celebrated his Toyota Gazoo Racing Global Rally Staff debut with an excellent podium end in this weekend’s Monte Carlo Rally.
In spite of lining up along six-time global champion Sebastien Ogier at Toyota and having restricted pre-event checking out time in his new Yaris WRC, the Dolgellau celebrity two times led and got here agonisingly just about changing into the primary British winner of the notoriously difficult Alpine vintage for greater than 50 years.
After 4 days of gripping motion at the icy mountain roads above Monaco, Thierry Neuville scored a well-known first ever victory for himself and Hyundai.
The quick completing Belgian successful the overall six pace exams in his hard-charging i20 Coupe to overtake each Evans and Ogier.
Having been constantly a few of the see-sawing pace-setters all over and posting 4 quickest level occasions, in the long run Evans and co-driver Scott Martin needed to accept an in depth 3rd position, simply 14.6 seconds adrift of Neuville and not more than two seconds adrift of team-mate Ogier who used to be denied an remarkable 7th consecutive Monte Carlo victory.
Encouragingly for the Welshman and as a fillip for the season forward, it used to be his best-ever Monte Carlo consequence and as shut as any British motive force has come to successful the blue riband occasion for the reason that well-known victories of Paddy Hopkirk and Vic Elford in 1964 and 1968 respectively.
“Total we had a favorable weekend however if you lead a rally your expectancies are raised, so I’m a bit of disenchanted as we had the possible to win,” mentioned Evans. “We nonetheless have some paintings to do but it surely’s a forged begin to the season.”
9-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb used to be by no means at the velocity of the leaders and in spite of everything completed 6th greater than 5 mins adrift, whilst new signing Ott Tänak crashed out spectacularly on the second one morning with the protecting global champion surviving a prime pace twist of fate unscathed however along with his i20 broken past restore.
After any such rousing begin to what guarantees to be some other fiercely-fought sequence, this yr’s Global Rally Championship switches to the frozen forests of Sweden from February 13-16 earlier than taking at the gravel roads of Mexico and Argentina.