CAFE CHAT: M-sport driver Elfyn Evans

Gordon Lomas

Friday 12th September, 2014 - 8:00am

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Elfyn Evans has enjoyed a solid season with M-Sport

Elfyn Evans has enjoyed a solid season with M-Sport

With an envious rallying pedigree the career of Welsh rookie Elfyn Evans is gathering momentum in his first full World Rallying Championship season with the M-Sport stable.

Evans, the son of British legend Gwyndaf Evans, is undertaking his maiden assault on Coates Hire Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour.

The 25-year-old is seventh after nine rounds in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Speedcafe.com editor-in-chief Gordon Lomas caught up with Evans ahead of Round 10 of the WRC.

SPEEDCAFE: You have been building up to Rally Australia with recces this week, how have you found the stages?

ELFYN EVANS: It’s been very mixed to be honest.

There are some parts of the stages that are very smooth and enjoyable whereas there are other places that are very tricky and technical, so it will be a rally of changing character.

Evans during the Rally Australia shakedown

Evans during the Rally Australia shakedown

Hopefully we can adapt well and have a clean run through all of the stages.

SPEEDCAFE: The stages, as you’ve pointed, out are quite a mixed bag, are you comfortable in all those conditions?

EVANS: I don’t know if comfortable is the right word to describe it.

I have certainly had previous experience of these conditions, of course the difficulty will be a lack of route knowledge.
We have to do the best we can and I think it will be an event that is important to get experience of for future years.

SPEEDCAFE: Are you happy with the pace notes that you guys have written over the last couple of days?

EVANS: It seems to have worked quite well.

We don’t have any major concerns about the notes but there is nothing like trying them out at speed.

Evans did the Canberra rally last year but is making his debut in Australia's WRC event

Evans did the Canberra rally last year but is making his debut in Australia’s WRC event

In terms of car set-up, we can depend a lot on the team to know roughly what to expect but no two years are ever the same in any rally.

SPEEDCAFE: Looking from the outside this year you seem to have had a solid build up to the campaign, have you been happy with your progress?

EVANS: It was always the plan this year to learn the events and on the whole we have managed to do that.

We have had few mistakes on the rallies we know when we have pushed a bit harder.

This will be a learning process this weekend and hopefully for the last three events we will have that experience to draw from.

SPEEDCAFE: How would you rate yourself out of 10 this year?

EVANS: I think if you are talking in terms of against the objective I set this season, I would give myself a 7 or 8, but as for outright speed its not so great.

The objective was to learn and build up slowly as the year has gone on and we have managed to do that.

SPEEDCAFE: Do you have a deal with M-Sport for next year?

EVANS: We are confirmed at M-Sport for next year so that’s a very fortunate position to be in at the start of the season.

This has given me as little pressure as possible but naturally you want to do well but you have to keep it in the back of your mind that I am playing the long game.

SPEEDCAFE: How much do you feel you have come on as a driver and learnt in WRC this year?

EVANS: In certain places I have come on a lot.

It’s more about feeling comfortable and confident in the car which is the main thing.

With every rally, that is getting better and better.

SPEEDCAFE: Do you often consult with your father Gwyndaf about issues you encounter?

EVANS: It’s difficult now as the team have an agenda.

He has always been there throughout my career and he has had a big part to play, so it would be stupid of me to ignore every advice he throws.

I’m here to drive for the team but I won’t ignore any of his advice.