Customer News – Meirion Evans – BRC

Evans overcomes early drama to clinch Scottish podium.

Following on from his maiden Junior British Rally Championship podium on the Pirelli Rally earlier in the month, twenty one year old Meirion Evans overcame early drama to fight back and take his second podium in as many rallies at the recent Scottish Rally.

The Lockerbie based event, which formed Round 3 of the Preston MSA British Rally Championship, featured classic stages to the North of Dumfries which have held good fortune for Evans in the past – clinching his first Fiesta Sport Trophy win there in 2013. Following on from a strong showing on the previous round, the Lampeter based driver was confident of a good result this year.

Immediately however, Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson would hit trouble on the opening stage on Friday evening – a puncture half way through would slow the Welsh duo, losing more than thirty seconds to their rivals and languishing down the leaderboard – last of the Junior BRC crews. With just one spare tyre onboard, they were left to drive through the next stage – a repeat of the opener – at a reduced pace. However, such was the roughness of the forest road, Evans would exit the opening night back in fourth overall – and ready to fight on the longer, and smoother, second leg.

Mixed weather conditions greeted the crews as they began the second day and, with a big gap to the crews in front and to those behind, Evans set out to keep the pressure on his rivals whilst ensuring no risks were taken. However, it soon became clear that those in front were in trouble, with both the cars in first and third position falling foul of the Scottish terrain and dropping out of contention – lifting Evans and Jackson to second – a position they’d hold for the remainder of the event.

A fastest time on the eight mile test in Ae Forest, nearly eight seconds faster than their nearest rival, would be a stark reminder that without the puncture, the Melvyn Evans Motorsport crew could challenge for the overall victory. Not even a late scare when the brakes failed on the road section would hinder the Peugeot 208 R2 crew as they crossed the finish line in Moffat in a fine second place – capturing more vital points for their Championship campaign;

“We always knew this rally would be very difficult. The stages are tricky with rocks lying about and the grip can be quite changeable and after the recce it was clear that the opening stages on Friday night was going to cause damage. The puncture on the first stage put us way back but we knew we couldn’t afford another on the re-run so drove very safely to give ourselves a better chance on the second days stages which were much smoother.

The time loss from the puncture put us in a strange position, we had to sit back and drive at a fast but safe speed really as the gap in front was too big to close on pace alone. A few of our rivals hit trouble Saturday morning moving us to second and we had a strong run on that loop setting a fastest time to cement our position. Even though we closed the gap a bit to the leader we always knew that he’d need a problem for us to win so we switched in to get it home mode for the afternoon as the points are important for us!”

The next stop for the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship is the world famous Ypres Rally in Belgium – the first time the British series has left the UK for a Championship round. Indeed, it will be a new venture for Meirion, one he is very much looking forward to;

“I’m looking forward to a new challenge, it’s almost like the championship re-sets now as there’s only 45 miles of gravel left this year! Ypres is a classic rally and it attracts huge crowds and an international entry. We have a test event planned before Ypres out in Belgium to acclimatise to the nature of the roads and to make sure the car is set up to my liking. We have a busy couple of months ahead of us!”

Meirion and Jonathan would like to take this opportunity to thank their supporters; Melvyn Evans Motorsport, Race and Rally NI, Tim Hoare of Michelin Motorsport, West Wales Rally Spares, Samco Sport, JD Tyres, GMF Motor Factors and Speedline Corse.