Monday, 12 May 2014

Rally - Evans Above



M-Sport World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen reaffirmed his class as Rally Argentina came to a close with four stages to the west of Villa Carlos Paz. The Finn claimed three of the four stage wins to prove that he would have been fighting at the head of the field were it not for his uncharacteristic mistake on SS2.

Fearless in the fog that blighted the opening speed test, the M-Sport driver was a full 36.4 seconds faster than his nearest rival. Thoroughly enjoying the tricky conditions, Hirvonen's impressive pace highlighted the strength of his partnership with co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen, driving to the notes with near-perfect precision. Setting the second fastest time in the points-paying Power Stage, the pairing also added an additional two points to their championship campaign.

In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt continued to develop their skills. Making it through all 14 speed tests unscathed, it was mission accomplished for the young Welshman who leaves his first visit to Argentina with a wealth of experience that will be invaluable in years to come.

Elfyn Evans (7th) said: "It's not been easy to display good speed whist being safe at the same time and, for me, it has definitely been the most difficult event of the year. When you're trying to learn a new rally you tend to settle into a rhythm as the event unfolds, but here, there is something new all the time and you are constantly learning how to tackle each variation. With regards to the first day, the stages were very technical in nature and there was no margin for error. Yesterday was quite high-speed with a really soft surface so it was quite difficult to commit, and today the weather made things very tricky with mixed conditions within the stages themselves.”

"Although it has admittedly been a bit of a frustrating weekend for me, I know that the amount we have learnt will undoubtedly help my development for the future. We've made it to the end without incident and that is a big positive. Now it's just a case of going back over the data with the team to decipher exactly where we can improve for next year."

Mikko Hirvonen (9th) said: "After my mistake on Friday we just wanted to finish the rally with a good pace and we were able to do that. Everything worked really well this morning. The boys clearly did a fantastic job with repairing the car and I was just able to really go for it. I've always been quite confident in the fog. I have a good feeling with my notes and I'm able to really trust the distances into the corners – it just works for us."

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