Meirion Evans has returned to the driving seat for the first time in almost six months, after giving his new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 a systems shakedown test.
And now the Welshman, who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, hopes to be back contesting a rally in the car very soon, after Covid-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the 2020 Irish Tarmac Championship after just one round.
Co-driven by Jonathan Jackson, Meirion finished fourth on the Galway International Rally in February – before rallying came to an abrupt coronavirus halt a few days before the second round of the series in West Cork.
His only other appearance in a rally car this year was at Race Retro, an exhibition event at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, which took place pre-lockdown.
But with rallying now beginning to resume on mainland Europe, Meirion hopes to be back out in The Scan Station-backed Polo – which is prepared and run by the family’s Llanwrda-based rally preparations operation, Melvyn Evans Motorsport – as soon as possible.
And having contested events like the Ypres Rally and Rally van Wervik in Belgium, and rounds of the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup in France, Meirion has good experience of contesting major European rallies.
“It was nice to get back behind the steering wheel again – the last time I drove a rally car at speed was at Race Retro in February, so it’s been a long wait,” said Meirion.
“We only did around twenty to twenty-five kilometres at the test. Every time we get a new car we give it a little shakedown to make sure everything works the way it should do – it’s more of a systems check before a serious test or an event takes place. I’m happy to report that everything was perfect.
“I hope to know fairly soon when my next rally will be. There are a few rallies starting up in Belgium and the French championship is about to resume, so we’ll have to wait and see what the situation is with stuff like travel restrictions and quarantine measures.
“You can’t plan too far ahead because the government guidelines can change overnight, but it’s certainly our intention to try and contest a couple of rallies somewhere this year.”