Overcoming earlier issues, M-Sport World Rally Team's Ott Tänak and Elfyn Evans secured fourth and sixth place on Rally Sweden.
Having lost 20 seconds caught in a snow bank on the first forest stage (SS2), Tänak and co-driver Raigo Mõlder spent much of the weekend rebuilding their confidence amidst the worst of the road conditions.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt showed a huge increase in speed from this time twelve months ago – proving that they have the pace to challenge within the top-five on snow.
Were it not for an encounter with the snow banks through the second pass of Röjden (SS8) which cost them almost two minutes, they would have been within sight of a podium position.
Thereafter Evans found himself in an intense battle for sixth place on the final stage of the rally (SS21). Locked in a thrilling duel with Kris Meeke, the Welshman came out on top – winning the battle of the Brits, claiming sixth place overall and propelling himself and Barritt into sixth place in the FIA World Rally Championship driver and co-driver standings.
At the finish, Elfyn said: "It's been an event of two halves. We made a mistake which cost us a lot of time on Friday and we struggled to find the confidence at times, but generally I think we've learnt a lot and we were able to show some pretty good pace towards the end. We only do one snow rally a year and this is only my second so it all bodes well for the future. I'm really pleased with the progress we were able to show here and I think we've proved our potential on this surface. On the whole, I think we did a good job.”
"I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and we had a great battle with Kris today. From yesterday afternoon onwards I really enjoyed the driving. We had a good feeling in the car and everything just came together as it should."