By James Lloyd
Welsh rally driver Elfyn Evans finished in sixth place of the Monte Carlo rally – the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).
Evans was the best placed British driver in the top class of world rallying after Kris Meeke was forced to retire following an off the course accident.
Alongside co-driver Daniel Barritt, Evans scooped three stages wins on day two, but finished six minutes behind reigning world champion and teammate, Sebastian Ogier. Irish driver Craig Breen also enjoyed a successful weekend after he put his Citroen Total Abu Dhabi car in fifth place after a stunning effort across the three-day event.
But Evans, driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta, was left delighted with his performance and hopes to build on that going into the next round in Sweden.
He said: “It’s a fantastic start to the season for us. We didn’t have a great day on Friday but Saturday’s performance more than made up for that and really raised some eyebrows.
“I was very happy with my driving and the feeling with the car and tyres was really positive. It was easy to work with Daniel again, everything gelled together right from the start.”
Evans is the son of former WRC driver Gwyndaf and made his debut on the world stage in 2007. His best finish at a world rally event was a second place in France 2015 – finishing the year 7th in the standings.
But the Dollgelau based driver spent last year in the WRC-2, the second tier of world championship rallying.
The prestigious Monte Carlo rally was marred this year by the death of a spectator on the opening day of racing.
New Zealander Hayden Paddon, who drives for Hyundai, slipped on black ice and collided with a fan.
Despite the best efforts of medical staff at the scene and at a nearby hospital, the spectator passed away and Paddon withdrew his entry for the weekend.
Thierry Neuville looked set to win the rally after easing into a 50-second lead, but suspension problems left Ogier clear to claim his fourth consecutive Monte Carlo win.