Posted: Fri 27th Oct 2017

Elfyn Evans takes overnight lead as WRC event gets underway in earnest

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Oct 27th, 2017

Elfyn Evans gave the huge crowds lining the Welsh forests plenty of reason to cheer today, by becoming the first British driver to lead on home soil for 16 years as he established a commanding advantage of almost 25 seconds on the opening leg of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.

Having set the pace on yesterday’s Shakedown, Evans headed into today’s action – held in the famous mid-Wales forests and comprising two passes of the Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren speed tests – in quietly confident mood. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Tens of thousands of partisan supporters lined the stages to watch the M-Sport World Rally Team ace – who hails from Dolgellau – sprint clear of all of his rivals, winning three of the six special stages behind the wheel of his DMACK-tyred Ford Fiesta WRC to rapturous reception. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Wales Rally GB (GB) – WRC 26/10/2017 to 29/10/2017 – PHOTO : @World

His performance made Evans the first British driver to lead Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship since the late Colin McRae back in 2001. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It’s obviously nice to be leading the way in Wales, and it’s a good position to be in overnight,” said Evans. “It’s been great to see so many fans out on the stages and all the Welsh flags – particularly at ‘Elfyn’s Corner’ in Myherin ­– so it was good to be able to reward them by going fastest on both runs through there. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The conditions were really challenging; the grip levels were so changeable and we had a bit of understeer, but I think that was the same for everyone. There’s obviously pressure leading your home event, but it’s all going well at the moment. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Tomorrow will be familiar territory for me, but you never know how it’s going to work out and there’s still a long way to go – it’s certainly not going to be plain sailing. Whatever happens, though, we’ll certainly be giving it our all.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 -WRC Wales Rally GB (GB) – WRC 26/10/2017 to 29/10/2017 – PHOTO : @World

Behind the local favourite, the scrap for the 2017 Drivers’ World Championship crown intensified as Ott Tänak, Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville fought hammer-and-tongs over second position. Just 12.5 seconds separates the trio, after the Belgian picked up a ten-second time penalty for a late check-in on Thursday night’s Visit Conwy Tir Prince curtain-raiser. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

With Tänak and Ogier sitting second and third overnight, Cumbrian outfit M-Sport also moved a step closer to celebrating an historic Manufacturers’ title – something the popular independent team has not achieved since 2007. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Kris Meeke made it two Brits inside the top six in his Citroën C3 WRC, while recently-crowned FIA ERC Junior U27 Champion Chris Ingram is the best-placed two wheel-drive competitor in his Network Q-backed Vauxhall ADAM. Welshman Tom Cave sits third amongst the WRC2 runners. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

1. flag
3
Evans Elfyn – Barritt Daniel
Ford Fiesta WRC ’17
RC1
M
1:09:20.9 104.5
2. flag
2
Tänak Ott – Järveoja Martin
Ford Fiesta WRC ’17
RC1
M
1:09:45.5 +24.6
+24.6
103.9
0.20
3. flag
1
Ogier S. – Ingrassia J.
Ford Fiesta WRC ’17
RC1
M
1:09:47.7 +26.8
+2.2
103.9
0.22
4.
 +3
flag
5
Neuville Thierry – Gilsoul N.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
RC1
M
1:09:58.0
0:10
+37.1
+10.3
103.8
0.31
5. flag
10
Latvala J. – Anttila M.
Toyota Yaris WRC
RC1
M
1:10:02.8 +41.9
+4.8
103.5
0.35
6.
 −2
flag
9
Meeke Kris – Nagle Paul
Citroën C3 WRC
RC1
M
1:10:02.9 +42.0
+0.1
103.5
0.35
7.
 −1
flag
6
Mikkelsen Andreas – Jæger A.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
RC1
M
1:10:12.9 +52.0
+10.0
103.2
0.43
8. flag
16
Sordo Dani – Martí Marc
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
RC1 1:10:34.8 +1:13.9
+21.9
102.7
0.61
9. flag
4
Paddon Hayden – Marshall S.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
RC1
M
1:10:43.8 +1:22.9
+9.0
102.5
0.69
10. flag
11
Hänninen Juho – Lindström K.
Toyota Yaris WRC
RC1
M
1:11:04.4 +1:43.5
+20.6
102.0
0.86

Following a visit to Chester for a city centre parade and autograph session, crews will return to the Deeside Rally Village tonight for an evening service halt – ahead of tomorrow’s longest and most demanding day of the rally. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

An early start precedes nine special stages totalling close to 90 competitive miles, with Evans sure to feel at home as the route through Gartheiniog goes quite literally past his back door on the southern edge of Snowdonia National Park. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Saturday’s action also includes the family-friendly Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle in Shropshire, before culminating in the additional challenge of the eagerly-anticipated night-time stages through Aberhirnant and Dyfnant. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Saturday 28 October
06:10 — Service – Deeside Rally Village (15 mins)
07:55 — Aberhirnant 1 (Stage 8)
08:47 — Dyfnant 1 (Stage 9)
09:59 — Gartheiniog 1 (Stage 10)
10:28 — Dyfi 1 (Stage 11)
11:13 — Corris Regroup and Technical Zone
12:08 — Gartheiniog 2 (Stage 12)
12:37 — Dyfi 2 (Stage 13)
15:48 — Cholmondeley Castle (Stage 14)
16:55 — Service – Deeside Rally Village (30 mins)
18:55 — Aberhirnant 2 (Stage 15)
19:47 — Dyfnant 2 (Stage 16)
22:26 — Service – Deeside Rally Village (45 mins) ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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