Lampeter’s Meirion Evans recorded a career best result on last weekends Wexford Stages, taking second overall and top R5 car.
Following a season in the French Peugeot 208 Cup and two outings aboard a Ford Fiesta R5 earlier in the season, taking fifth overall on his last event, Evans headed to Wexford with a brand new Hyundai Motorsport built Hyundai i20 R5 backed by The Scan Station.
The Wexford Stages is Irelands only non-championship two day event, with more than 200 kilometres of stages on offer to the competitive entry, the highlights of which would see a two-time winner in a Subaru World Rally Car and the ultra competitive 2wd field, surrounding the pair.
The opening leg was set to be a steep learning curve for the crew with 9 stages covering more than 100 kilometers of action ahead of them. Wet and windy conditions would further add to the challenge ahead, however Evans and Jackson would stop the clocks on the opening stage just 8 seconds shy of fastest time, taking third overall. That quickly became second overall on the events second test, just 0.5 seconds behind the Subaru WRC of two-time event winner Steve Wood.
Such was the rate of the Melvyn Evans Motorsport crews’ education with the i20 R5, they would take their first ever overall fastest time on stage 8 of the event, finishing more than five seconds clear of their nearest rival, ending the opening day in a comfortable second place – eyes firmly placed on further improving their speed on Day 2.
Day two of the event dawned dry – and with that came further confidence aboard the new Hyundai, confirmed by taking another fastest time on the opening stage of the day. The highlight of the event would come on special stage 12, the days fourth test, taking more than 11 seconds out of the event leader to close to within 41 seconds of the lead .
At the end of two days of confidence inspiring performances, The Scan Station backed crew were delighted to have recorded five fastest times to clinch second place overall and first of the R5 machines – their best result to date;
“It’s fantastic to have such a strong debut with the i20 R5. We decided to do the rally mainly as it would provide us with 2 days of seat time in the car, giving us the opportunity to learn more and more about it. I was feeling quite comfortable with everything going into the rally but the weather when I opened the curtains on day 1 was a bit of a curveball. I‘ve never driven much of a 4-wheel drive car in the rain so to learn a new car in the conditions was very tricky but I think we managed it quite well. Ok, our tyre choices were always safe but its what we needed and it was pleasing to be 2nd overnight after such a challenging day and a lot of knowledge in the bank for future events.
Although the second day was dryer, the first loop was still tricky with muddy and damp sections on both stages but as the day progressed, my confidence in the car grew massively. The car was phenomenal after we went on to a tyre more suited for the dry and making a few small set up changes and it was nice to see it show in the times as we won 3 of the last 4 stages.
2nd to a WRC car is a brilliant result at the end of a long, tough rally and it gives us a lot of positives to carry forward into the future.”
Meirion and Jonathan would like to express their sincerest thanks to The Scan Station and all at Melvyn Evans Motorsport for making such a result possible.
Images : Barronpix