Lampeter’s Meirion Evans clinched a career best fifth overall on the recent Down Rally on just his second event in The Scan Station Ford Fiesta R5.
Fresh from an event in the ultra competitive Peugeot 208 Cup in France, Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jackson entered the eleven stage, sixty mile event with the goal of gaining valuable mileage aboard the Fiesta with the last outing being more than two months previously.
Immediately however, the pair would feel comfortable over the stages in Counties Antrim and Down and would exit the opening loop of four stages in eighth overall, having set sixth fastest time over the longest stage of the event – Hamilton’s Folly. The 23 year old would also uphold family honour, lying nearly six seconds up on his father Melvyn.
Over the next loop of four stages, Evans and Jackson would take the Melvyn Evans Motorsport run The Scan Station backed Fiesta R5 to two more sixth fastest times as the pair continued to dial themselves in to the Fiesta. With confidence growing by the mile, they would find themselves inside the top six as the cars returned to the Eikon Centre for the events final service.
Another top six time over the final run through Hamilton’s Folly would clinch the pair their best ever result – fifth overall and third of the R5 category of cars. The result would also have been good enough for second in the Protyre MSA Asphalt Championship. After a year of difficulties in the French Championship, the pair were delighted to break their run of misfortune to record a result they believed was possible;
“I think we can be pleased with our weekend’s work, the top 20-25 cars on the entry were mainly all WRC or R5 car’s and I think a top 10 would have been a decent result for us. Obviously we started steadily, as I hadn’t really done anything in an R5 car since April-so when we arrived at first service inside the top 10 it was very promising. As we gained confidence in the car we moved up the leader board a few more places and we just continued doing our own thing. We never chased anyone and going into the last loop we had a relatively comfortable gap to the car behind so we took it sensibly as getting to the end with no issues has been something that’s eluded us this year. I would haver really liked to have pushed over the last loop to get more from the car but it wasn’t the time. I think we’ve come on to a decent level for so little mileage in this type of car and its something we can now build on in future.
Meirion and Jonathan now enter the summer break buoyed by their result and now look ahead to the second half of the year to continue to build on their turn of fortune;
We have a little break now. We haven’t fully decided what will be next. Ultimately I’d like a full year in an R5 car next year, we still have a bit of speed to find before we can fight with the some of the current front running R5 regulars but that’s not a worry at the moment, as I know more speed will come in with time and mileage. It was nice to end our run of misfortune with a result we always knew we could deliver, so now we want to find the best way of building on it.
The pair would like to thank The Scan Station, West Wales Rally Spares and all at Melvyn Evans Motorsport for their continued support this season.
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