A Belgian tale of two halves for Evans.
The World renowned Ypres Rally would see Lampeter’s Meirion Evans make his European International debut – and the event lived up to its fearsome reputation almost immediately.
After a strong European debut at Rally van Wervik just two weeks previously, twenty one year old Evans headed to the historical city of Ypres for Round 4 of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship with high hopes of building on his career best second Junior last time out in Scotland.
The event, which was formerly part of the European Rally Championship featured a bumper entry; with more than 30 high-powered R5 cars and, more importantly, more than 30 R2 machines similar to the Peugeot 208 R2 piloted by Evans.
Twenty stages lay head of Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson and, following a recce which saw temperatures soar to 38 degrees celcius, Evans was ready for the tough challenge which lay ahead.
However, a wrong tyre choice early on would rule the youngster out of contention, with a spin on stage two, followed by a well publicised day ending incident just two stages later following another spin.
Fantastic work by the Pevatec team, the team responsible for running Evans and Jackson during the two Belgian events, saw the Peugeot 208 R2 returned to full health. A confidence inspiring second leg saw Meirion end the event taking fastest time of the Junior BRC crews, and points for 4th in the Championship, mixing it with the more experienced Belgian crews in the process;
“We always knew this was going to be a difficult challenge. We had a good rally in Wervik and the car felt really good but the first stage in Ypres left me totally puzzled. We got to the end expecting to see a punctured tyre as the back of the car was all over the place. It was something id never experienced before- the sheer lack of grip! I tried to let the tyres come in on stage 2 but about 2 k’s in the back of the car overtook us and we lost over 40 seconds shunting between ditches! Another spin early in stage 4 before going off cemented the first day as one of the worst I’d had from a driving point of view in a long time. We were in two minds whether or not to continue Saturday but a chat with Thierry Neuville in the medical room inspired me to get on with the job! We took off steadily and built in to it. We weren’t going to catch anyone on pace such was our time loss so we just had to persevere to the end. Surprisingly we set a string of top 3 times and capped it off with fastest on the last stage moving us into 4th Junior BRC crew at the end putting us in a good place moving forward!”
Round five of the Prestone MSA British Junior Rally Championship sees Meirion return to home turf for the Nicky Grist Stages, based just an hour from home and the base of Melvyn Evans Motorsport;
“The Nicky Grist is my home event and the only welsh event in the BRC so we need to get a result there! I’m looking forward to getting into my own car again and having a good go at it. On that note I must thank Peter and his boys at Pevatec for the car we were given for Ypres. Those guys worked tirelessly to get it sorted and I cant thank them enough for welcoming us into their team!”