It’s been 12 months since the proud rallying nation of Wales last had a hero to fly its flag in WRC. That wait is almost over as Elfyn Evans prepares to saddle up in the cockpit of a WRC car once more and make his long-awaited comeback in the history-steeped hills around Monte Carlo.
The lad from Gwynedd will join forces once again with long-time associates M-Sport as he takes to the wheel of the all-new Ford Fiesta RS WRC, one of the new roster of beefed-up world rally cars set to debut in 2017. Evans, 28, is no newcomer to the rough and tumble of rallying’s toughest series having served his apprenticeship with Malcolm Wilson’s team during his rookie season in 2014. The young Brit impressed enough for M-Sport to retain his services in 2015 but three stage wins all season with the relative underdogs wasn’t enough to secure him a seat in 2016. Consequently, the son of former British rally champion Gwyndaf spent last year plying his trade in the WRC 2 feeder championship where he scored a trio of class victories and ended the year third overall.
Although there’s no word as yet on exactly how many rallies the Welshman will tackle next season, a good performance in the third Fiesta at round one alongside regular pilots Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tänak could temp the M-Sport hierarchy to hand Evans additional run-outs as the new season gets into full swing.
Unlike the rest of the 2017 factory squads, each member of Wilson’s new-look trio will sport their own personalised car livery. Perhaps more significantly, whilst Tänak and Ogier will use a set of Michelin rubbers, Evans’ Fiesta will be equipped with DMACK tyres for his Monte outing.
Rallye Monte Carlo, the opening round of the new-look 2017 season, begins on 19th January. Returning champion Ogier heads the entry list in his number one Fiesta, with Tänak carrying number two and Evans three. The latter’s inclusion will double the number of British representatives, joining Citroën team leader Kris Meeke at the ceremonial start in Casino Square.