Following a strong debut season in the Championship, Welshman Meirion Evans is set to return to the Irish Tarmac Championship in 2020 with a switch to a new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
The 24 year old Lampeter driver began last season as the driver with the least experience of the classic events that make up the ITRC calendar. Technical issues on two of the opening four events ruled out any chance of scoring points in the ultra competitive series, which saw more than a fifteenR5 category machines fighting for the coveted top ten positions.
A switch to the Skoda Fabia R5 for the Ulster Rally in August immediately reaped rich rewards; scoring his first ITRC podium before rounding out the year at the Cork 20 with his first Irish Tarmac Championship victory, scoring maximum points after a close fight with Marty McCormack in a Polo GTI R5, who took the eventual event victory.
Long time co-driver Jonathan Jackson will once again join Meirion and the Melvyn Evans Motorsport team, who are delighted to retain the support of The Scan Station and Michelin for the 2020 season;
“It’s great to be able to return to this fantastic championship, obviously a big thanks goes to The Scan Station, Michelin and the whole team for sticking behind us. We learnt a lot last year so I’m excited to put what we learnt into practice. The VW seems to be a very strong package at the moment. I think we were quite unlucky early on last year and a few things prevented us from getting results, and I wouldn’t put the change of fortune at the end of the year purely down to a change of car, I think we were just due some good fortune! However, it’ll be great to go in to the new year with a proven package around us and we can hopefully score some good points early on this year.”
The 2020 Irish Tarmac Championship follows an identical format to previous seasons with the year kicking off on the challenging roads of Galway. After the ITRC and British Championship double header in West Cork, the famous Circuit of Ireland name returns to the calendar for 2020 before the crews head to the beautiful, but gruelling, roads of The Wild Atlantic Way for the Killarney Rally of the Lakes in May. The jewel in the crown of the ITRC, the Donegal International, returns in June before the Ulster and Cork 20 International rallies round out the seven event calendar;
“As everyone knows, Galway is such a tricky event. The elements usually throw everything at you and you have to deal with it as well as you can. We’ll do our best to find a nice rhythm and drive at a pace were happy with to start with and hopefully the times won’t be far away just like the end of last year. Then as the year goes on the classics just keep coming so I can’t wait to get started, it’s been a long winter!”
The switch to a new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, quite possibly the rarest of all R5 category machines to date, brings a fresh challenge to the team for 2020 but one the crew are relishing as Meirion explains;
“We’ve dodged in and out of conversations with VW for about 18 months now. We know a few of the guys that work there from our time running Subaru’s so there’s a lot of familiar faces involved. We did think hard about the decision as there are so many strong and viable options on the market in the R5 category. But everyone I spoke to about the polo couldn’t find a bad word to say about the car so we took the plunge and I haven’t got any doubts that the car is capable.. I’ll just have to make sure I am!”
For further news and updates during the 2020 season, please follow ‘Meirion Evans-Rally Driver’ on Facebook or visit this website at www.meirionevans.com.