Elfyn unable to repeat last year’s victory
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt had been in the fight for a second successive victory on home soil – sitting in second place and never more than a handful of seconds adrift of the lead. But hopes of another Welsh win were dashed on the road section to the afternoon stages. Developing a misfire, the British pairing went over time in an attempt to repair the issue and were forced to retire for the day.
Faced with the disappointment of having to retire from a battle for the lead of the rally on the opening day – local crew Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt climbed from 39th overall to 23rd during the course of the day, entertaining the Welsh fans who lined the special stages.
In spite of his best efforts on Sunday, and his dogged determination through both Friday and Saturday, Evans was denied an opportunity to challenge for the top step of the podium – and Welsh hearts were broken.
It’s been a really disappointing rally for us as we knew we had the speed and performance to challenge for the victory this weekend. It’s one of those things and after retiring with the misfire on Friday we just had to focus on getting through without any issues.
At some points I was surprised at the times as we really weren’t pushing at all, but there isn’t a lot we can take away from this weekend. That said, it was great to see all the spectators out on the stages and such a fantastic atmosphere at the finish in Llandudno!
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
We knew that we could deliver a strong result this weekend and that all three of our crews had the ability to fight for the top positions. But on Friday evening it looked as though all hope of another win on home soil was gone – Sébastien had lost time with a transmission issue, Elfyn had been forced to retire with a misfire, and Teemu had sustained damage to the rollcage.
It wasn’t looking great and I was thinking what a different 12 months can make! But you really can never discount Sébastien. He and Julien delivered a true champions’ drive and suddenly I was thinking what a different 24 hours can make! It puts us back on track in the driver and co-driver standings and I’m as excited as every rally fan to see how it plays out over the last two events.