Round 5 – Toddsleap International Rally NI, Antrim – Fri 19/Sat 20 August 2011
Welshman Elfyn Evans kept his hopes of the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship alive with a sensational performance on round five of the series which comprised the Toddsleap International Rally of Northern Ireland.
Although he and Aberystwyth co driver Andrew Edwards had to eventually settle for a fifth place finish on the Antrim-based event in the TEG Sport Pirelli Shoot Out sponsored Subaru Impreza N15, it was a case of what might have been had the 22 year old from Dolgellau not dropped over two and a half minutes with a puncture on the very first stage.
It meant an uphill task for the crew but marked the start of a fantastic comeback drive which would end in Evans winning an amazing nine of the remaining 13 stages around the closed Ulster tarmac roads in his attempt to salvage vital championship points.
Fastest on both Glendun and Torr Heads stages on Friday evening, Evans had clawed his way up from 32nd place after SS1 to hold tenth at the overnight halt such was his pace to claim four stage wins.
Saturday saw Evans back on the pace although he dropped a little time on the opening two tests but still moved up to seventh position. However, on the final six stages, Evans set fastest time on five of them to secure sixth overall at the finish just over two minutes down on the winner. However, with winner Garry Jennings not being a registered BRC contender, it meant a top five placing for the Welsh crew and their Carnforth-based team.
The result sees Evans maintain second place in the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship going into next month’s International Rally Yorkshire.
Elfyn Evans: “I am happy with the result. After the puncture on SS1 and having to replace a turbo at second service, we are happy with our pace and fifth place points was the best we could achieve in the end. To set nine fastest stage times is very encouraging and all credit to the team for doing another great job.”
Lynn Newby – TEG Sport Team Director: “Elfyn drove a fantastic rally and had it not been for clipping a rock and getting the puncture on SS1 it would have been perfect. To be fastest on nine remaining stages was a wonderful achievement after losing so much time early on. The crew and the team have done a brilliant job once again and we are looking forward to the next round in Yorkshire whereby hopefully, Elfyn can take another victory to add to the International Rally of North Wales earlier this season.”
1 Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy – Mitsubishi Lancer – R4 – 1:51:26.6
2 Martin McCormack/David Moynihan – Citron DS3 – R3 - 1:51:44.3
3 Tommy Doyle/Liam Moynihan – Renault Clio - R3 – 1:53:02.7
4 David Bogie/Kevin Rae – Mitsubishi Lancer – R4 – 1:53:21.1
5 Jonathan Greer/Dai Roberts – Skoda Fabia S2000 – R4 – 1:53:26.7
6 Elfyn Evans/Andrew Edwards – Subaru Impreza – R4 – 1:53:32.3
7 Sam Moffett/James O Reilly – Mitsubishi Lancer – R4 – 1:54:51.9
8 Mark Donnelly/Barry McNulty – Renault Clio – R3 – 1:57:45.6
9 Jussi Kumpumaki/Mikael Korhonen – Ford Fiesta - R2 – 1:58:08.9
10 Kieran Daly/Darragh Mullen – Citron C2 Max – R2 – 1:58:55.2
Championship Positions (provisional)
1 David Bogie 94
2 Elfyn Evans 80
3 Jonny Greer 77
4 Martin McCormack 59
5 Adam Gould 47
6 Tom Clark 40
Pictures copyright free and courtesy of Jakob Ebrey: Elfyn Evans in action on the Toddsleap International Rally.