Missed opportunity for Elfyn at Rally Italia Sardegna | 11 June 2018
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt missed an opportunity at this weekend's Rally Italia Sardegna - having the speed to challenge for another top result before a small but costly mistake halted their charge through the early stages.
Up until the 13 kilometre mark of Friday's opening speed test (SS2), Evans was amongst the fastest through the challenging terrain. But the luckless Welshman clipped a bank and broke a steering arm.
Having the necessary spares to affect a repair mid-stage, the pairing got the job done remarkable quickly but were then tasked with the unenviably job of sweeping a cleanline through the loose gravel over the remainder of the weekend.
Evans will now use the summer break to regroup before returning to Rally Finland where he secured a sensational second place behind the wheel of the top-specification Fiesta last year.
It's been a frustrating weekend - especially as the feeling in the car was really good on Friday morning. A relevantly small error proved pretty costly, and when you drop 13 minutes there is very little to fight for. We managed to salvage a point from the Power Stage which was some consolation, and now we'll have a few weeks off before getting fully focused ahead of the next one in Finland.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
Teemu and Elfyn also had the speed to challenge for the top results this weekend, and the team will take a lot of confidence from that too - knowing that the Fiesta would have allowed all three crews to fight for the podium. They were both caught out by the difficult stages, but I know they'll be determined to come back strongly. They both did extremely well in Finland last year, and I'm confident we will have a strong package with which to tackle the famous jumps around Jyväskylä.
Elfyn back in business with 2nd place finish in Portugal | 21st May 2018
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team's EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs secured a double podium at this weekend's Vodafone Rally de Portugal - Elfyn Evans and Teemu Sunnier both taking well-earned podium places at the end of the challenging event.
Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt secured their first podium of the year with an impressive second place at this year's Rally de Portugal.
Finding the perfect balance between speed and intelligence, the Brits posted three fastest stage times whilst giving the notoriously difficult stages the respect they deserved. It was a faultless drive from the Welshman, and a long overdue boost for his confidence.
Adamant that there is more to come, Evans will now focus on further gains behind the wheel of his EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC - eager to stand on the top step of the podium before the year is out.
I'm happy with this result, and a bit relieved too if I'm honest! Everyone knows that our season didn't get off to the best of starts. Monte started well with the exception of the puncture, but one thing led to another and it quickly snowballed into what was becoming a pretty dismal season.
We knew coming here that we needed to get some strong points on the board - for the team and for us as well. So to come away with second place was good. It wasn't perfect, and there are some areas where we can still improve. I wasn't entirely happy with my driving through all of the stages, but it's certainly alleviated the pressure and we can go to Sardinia in a positive frame of mind.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
This result is exactly what Elfyn needed, and he did a great job - setting fastest times and delivering a flawless drive through some very tricky conditions. He said himself that there is still room for improvement, and hopefully this result can act as a springboard for him to get even better as the season continues.
Elfyn forced to withdraw from Rally Mexico | Sun 11 March 2018
Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Daniel Barritt made a strong start to this year's Rally Mexico - sitting in a podium position just 15 seconds adrift of the lead after the third speed test - but the rally ended in dramatic fashion for the pair.
As the crews made their way to the first pass of Ortega (SS4), the luckless Brits were caught out by a series of compressions while in sixth gear. Thrown sideways, they lost the rear end of the car and rolled the M-Sport Fiesta.
The pairing checked in with the medical team on their return to service where Dan was advised not to continue. Both driver and co-driver were okay, but safety remains paramount and the decision was taken to withdraw the car to ensure the pair get the necessary rest before the next WRC round in Corsica.
"We hit a series of bumps that were a lot worse than expected. We lost the rear - still in sixth gear - and didn't have the power to pull out of the slide. We clipped the bank on the inside and rolled I don't know how many times.
"I jumped out of the car immediately because I didn't think there would be any way to continue. But when the dust settled we could see that the damage wasn't too bad at all. We got our helmets back on and managed to finish the stage - which is incredible after a roll like that.
"We checked in with the medical team when we returned to service and Dan was advised to go for some further precautionary checks. We're both okay, which is the main thing, and now we just need to focus on starting our season afresh in Corsica."
Elfyn recovers from early dramas to finish sixth in Monte Carlo | 29 January 2018
Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt recovered from early dramas to finish in sixth place at this weekend's Rallye Monte-Carlo, but the prestigious event could have yielded so much more.
Unlucky to have picked up a puncture on the very first stage, the British pair lost more than three minutes to the leading pack but refused to lose focus - following up the disappointment with a resurgent comeback from 16th to sixth.
Two stage victories proved that Elfyn had the pace to challenge for a podium and, had the final-day conditions been more to his liking, fourth place could have been a distinct possibility - the Welshman ending the rally just over 10 seconds shy.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, however, started the year as they mean to go on - leading the FIA World Rally Championships for Manufacturers, Drivers and Co-drivers courtesy of a sixth Rallye Monte-Carlo victory for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.
"It's been a tough edition of the rally this year and we had an especially tough start losing so much time on the very first stage. Over the next few days I think we were there or thereabouts in terms of outright speed, but overall there were just too many little errors.
"When it came to making the smart choices at the right time, we weren't quite there and that's what cost us a really good result. The comforting thing is that the speed is there, but we still need to be better."
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"This season is going to be closer than ever and we got it off to the perfect start this weekend. Rallye Monte-Carlo is an event that everyone wants to win, so to have secured back-to-back victories here is fantastic; and it doesn't get much better than leading all three championships.
"Elfyn was unlucky to have lost so much time on Thursday evening, but he fought back strongly and could have challenged for fourth place were the conditions more consistent today. Had everything gone to plan, he had the pace to have challenged for the podium this weekend, and he should definitely take encouragement from that."
Elfyn to partner Sébastien Ogier at M-Sport in 2018 | 28 November 2017
M-Sport has confirmed that Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans will continue their commitment to the team throughout the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship - leading the Cumbrian squad alongside their respective co-drivers Julien Ingrassia and Daniel Barritt.
With the five-time World Champion, and one of the sport's most exciting up-and-coming talents, M-Sport are well-placed to defend their title in what is sure to be another exciting and closely-fought battle next year.
With both crews having good knowledge of the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC, development can continue at pace - Ogier and Evans both determined to add to M-Sport's repertoire of podiums, wins and championships in the year to come.
Negotiations with both crews have been on-going for some months and, during a team celebration at Dovenby Hall (pictured), Ogier spontaneously took the lead - he and Evans putting pen to paper there and then in front of M-Sport's 240-strong workforce.
With Ogier and Evans, the team have a strong chance of preserving the huge success they had gathered to celebrate. Both crews have speed in abundance, but it's their masterful understanding of strategy which could combine to produce the perfect recipe for M-Sport's championship defence.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"To have secured both Sébastien and Elfyn is brilliant news for the team. We've been working towards this goal for some time, so to finally have it confirmed is fantastic and means that we can now focus our attention on the continued development ahead of next season.
"In Sébastien and Elfyn, we have a strong chance of defending our titles. It won't be easy. Our rivals certainly won't have sat still and I'm expecting an even closer battle for the championship, but with these two crews we have a good chance. They're both very intelligent drivers. There is no doubting their speed, but they also have a masterful approach to strategy that delivers results time after time.
"There's no reason why we shouldn't be confident of adding to our success next year and - seeing the reaction of the team this afternoon - I know that everyone will continue to give 110 percent."
Elfyn Evans said:
"After a fantastic season for the whole team, it's great that we'll be a part of it again next year. After getting that first victory under our belts, we're ready to take the next step and I think we all have another exciting season ahead of us.
"Honestly, I can't wait to get back behind the wheel and Rallye Monte-Carlo can't come soon enough. We'll be working hard over the Christmas break to ensure we're fully prepared, and the goal will be to build on the success of this year."
Elfyn Evans became the first Welsh driver ever to win Wales Rally GB | 27 October 2017
"It's been a very special day today, to take my first ever WRC win on home soil is something I could only have dreamed of. To see everyone who has supported me over the years at the end of the final stage was incredible. We knew from the shakedown that we had a competitive package with the DMACK tyres and Fiesta so I just wanted to make the most of it." says Elfyn.
After seven years and 88 events, DMACK has won its first FIA World Rally Championship event - on its home round at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. Elfyn Evans became the first Welsh driver to win the UK's round of the championship after he and co-driver Dan Barritt dominated the demanding event - leading from start to finish and winning by 37.3 seconds.
An overwhelming performance helped their M-Sport World Rally Team secure the 2017 WRC Manufacturer Championship while the DMACK victory brought Michelin's run of 92 consecutive wins to a halt.
The event was a true British success story. DMACK's British-made tyres were fitted to M-Sport's British-built Ford Fiesta WRC for a British crew to win their home event - the first time in 17 years.
The secret to the rally-winning performance was DMACK's new DMG+22 gravel tyres, which were introduced for the last three rounds of the 2017 season. Successfully gambling on cooler conditions in Wales, DMACK developed a more open tread pattern tyre and nominated two new evolution compounds, the soft GS84 and the medium GH34.
Building on a dominant performance in 2016, when Ott Tänak finished second overall and set 12 fastest times on Rally GB with DMACK, Evans was untouchable across the weekend.
DMACK's gravel tyres were the class of the field, coping remarkably with the varying road conditions in the demanding mid Wales forests. They found rally-leading grip and traction in the muddy sections and slippery gravel to give Evans the advantage.
DMACK drivers were also on the podium in WRC 2 and WRC 3, using the GS62B compound tyre. Local star Tom Cave was third in WRC 2, beating many championship regulars, while David Bogie was fourth, and Enrico Brazzoli was second in WRC 3.
Rally GB was based in Deeside, outside Chester, and featured 21 competitive stages across mid and north Wales before finishing this afternoon in Llandudno.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "We've been working towards this result for seven years and to take a debut victory on our home round of the championship is a special feeling. DMACK is a small but hugely committed team and reaching this achievement has taken an enormous amount of effort. Elfyn and Dan have delivered a remarkable drive this weekend and it's an honour to have played a part in M-Sport's championship success."
Tough Home Event In Store For Elfyn & Dan | 20 October 2017
Next week's penultimate round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship will have a distinctly local feel as the home rally for both tyre manufacturer DMACK and its leading WRC crew.
Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt will tackle Dayinsure Wales Rally GB for the M-Sport World Rally Team as the M-Sport squad aims to seal the WRC manufacturer title.
With some of the 21 timed special stages taking place close to his home town of Dolgellau, Welshman Evans will take on the world's best behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta WRC equipped with DMACK's recently-introduced soft compound GS84 tyres.
DMACK's soft compound is renowned for its performance on wet and slippery surfaces - last year Ott Tänak used it to finish second overall and set 12 fastest times at Rally GB. This year Evans also has the benefit of a new, more open tread pattern called DMG+22, which should cope well with the changing surfaces and grip levels.
The mid and north Wales based event is always a big challenge. Stages have low grip and the weather can make it even harder with rain, wind and fog all pretty common. But competitors are also away from service for long periods. There is only one mid-leg service all weekend and crews face a 110km loop on Saturday - the longest of the season.
Rally GB starts on Thursday evening with a short super-special blast before six stages on Friday with just a remote tyre change in Newtown. Saturday is a huge 17-hour day with the 110km loop of stages before five tests on Sunday bring the event to a close in Llandudno.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "Rally GB was a strong event for us last year with Ott and we've recently played our joker to give Elfyn and all our customers the best chance of a top result on our home event. It's also great to see so many WRC 2 and private competitors using DMACK, recognising how well our products worked in BRC this season and proving DMACK as the tyre of choice for GB."
Elfyn Evans, said: "I'm really looking forward to my home rally, it's always a special feeling to compete in Wales in front of the home fans and the atmosphere on the stages is fantastic. After missing the event last year, I'm really excited to be back - especially with the 2017 Fiesta which will be so much fun to drive in the Welsh forests."
Elfyn Evans takes best finish in Spain | 8 October 2017
Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt overcame a tough weekend at Rally RACC - Rally de EspaÃ±a to secure their best-ever finish on the mixed-surface event and move to within one point of the top-five in the championship standings.
At the wheel of their M-Sport World Rally team Ford Fiesta WRC, they debuted DMACK's new DMG+22 gravel tyre â€“ recently introduced for the final three rounds of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season.
However, the opening day on Friday saw crews tackle six gravel stages and unusually high temperatures of over 30 degrees, mixed with abrasive roads, proved a stern test for the medium compound. Evans maintained a consistent pace and returned to service in Salou where a specially-extended service saw cars transformed to Tarmac specification for the final two days.
The action moved to the fast, flowing asphalt roads in the hills to the north of Salou where Evans continued his solid drive and, while other crews were side-lined after getting caught out on the many rough cuts, he cruised home to finish seventh.
It was a double celebration for local stars Nil Solans and Miki Ibanez on their home rally. After claiming the WRC 3 title in Germany, they were crowned 2017 Junior WRC Champions* after winning their fourth event of the season.
In doing so, they collected all seven prize drives for next season's WRC 2 championship as they step up to a Fiesta R5 for a full championship campaign in 2018.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It has been a difficult event as we gambled a little with our new compounds to give Elfyn and M-Sport the best possible choices for Rally GB. Unfortunately, unlike last year, the conditions just didn't work for us here this time and now we must focus completely on our home event."
Elfyn said: "We've not had the best of weekends and it has been a challenge in these conditions. We did the best job we could and overall it's important to gather the information to move forward. It's my home event next where the conditions will be different, so we need to concentrate on and prepare well for it."
*subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.
A Tough Race in Rallye Deutschland | 20 August 2017
DMACK took its best-ever result on a Tarmac round of the FIA World Rally Championship after introducing new hard compound tyres for ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt finished sixth in their M-Sport-run Ford Fiesta WRC demonstrating a much-improved performance from the new rubber. The performance was a significant step forward from the previous asphalt round in Corsica, allowing Evans to push harder than before.
He had delivered a strong drive over the weekend's tricky conditions. Heavy rain on Friday turned the vineyard stages into slippery, water-soaked tracks and Evans used the wet pattern DMT-WET tyre to master the conditions. As the roads dried during Saturday, he used a mix of the soft S6+ and new hard tyre to climb up to fourth overall.
But a minor overshoot and a stall on the first stage this morning saw him drop around seven seconds and, struggling for grip over the final stages, he slipped back to sixth.
Rallye Deutschland was a tough, Tarmac challenge after torrential rain on Friday turned the tricky vineyard stages into water-logged tracks. The event offered three different stage types, from narrow vineyard tracks to open country roads and the abrasive tests through the infamous Baumholder military range.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "Overall it was a good performance and a solid improvement, especially in Panzerplatte, with the new hard compound tyre. It's a little bit disappointing to lose fourth place as we had a positive test before the rally which showed we could be on the pace. Although we have made significant improvement we still need to continue the development to match Michelin, whose performance here in the wet was a surprise."
Elfyn said: "It wasn't the perfect weekend but we pushed as hard as possible through every single stage. There were times when things were working really well and it felt very good, but the stages had many surface changes and we struggled on some of them. We've made good progress since Corsica and that's something positive to build on."
Elfyn Evans claims DMACK's 50th WRC stage win | 1 August 2017
In a final stage battle, Elfyn Evans finished second at Neste Rally Finland by just 0.3 seconds - scoring his and DMACK's best result at the prestigious, high-speed event.
In a treble celebration, DMACK claimed a double podium in WRC 2 and podium lock-outs in WRC 3 and Junior WRC. Along the way Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt notched up DMACK's 50th overall stage win - all of them in M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC cars.
With DMACK now scoring fastest times on six of the nine events this season, the result saw Evans and Barritt finish as top M-Sport World Rally Team crew, bringing home valuable points to help the team extend their lead at the top of the manufacturer championship standings.
Famed for its iconic jumps, flat-out gravel roads and blind crests, Finland's round of the championship is held in high esteem and is one of the biggest challenges of the series. It attracts huge numbers of fans from around the world at the spiritual home of the sport.
Despite not having a pre-event test, Evans was quickly up to speed using DMACK's soft compound GS62 tyre for the entire event. And, in one of the most fiercely-fought rounds yet, he moved up the leaderboard over the weekend to finish runner-up, for the second time this season, on the very last stage.
DMACK had played its joker before Finland to roll-out a new specification of gravel tyre for WRC 2 crews - and it worked perfectly. Frenchman Gilbert and UK's Tom Cave used both the new medium compound GH44 and soft GS62B version of the DMG+22 to finish second and third in the hotly-contested category.
Those results were backed-up by third-placed Osian Pryce, who made it three DMACK cars in the top-four on his second prize drive event, and Max Vatanen in a pair of M-Sport Fiesta R5s.
Nicolas Ciamin took a debut win in the Junior WRC category and also won the WRC 3 feeder series.
Rally Finland began on Thursday evening with the Harju stage in the centre of Jyväskylä but then crews faced a huge 16-hour day on Friday with 145km of action. Saturday saw two runs over the iconic Ouninpohja test, the longest of the rally, while four stages on Sunday finished off the hectic weekend.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It has been an incredible weekend and another milestone for DMACK on a classic rally. We have plans now to play our gravel and asphalt jokers, introducing new tyres to try and give Elfyn an advantage, still aiming for our first overall win. The results in the support categories just prove how competitive our customer tyre package is now."
Elfyn Evans, said: "We certainly wouldn't have expected to be second on Friday but we got the car working better and the weather stayed dry so we were able to push hard. The battle today was fantastic and this result was important for us, DMACK and the M-Sport team."
Sun-Soaked Sardinia To Provide Bruising Gravel Battle | 2 June 2017
The conditions on next week's Rally Italia Sardegna are set to be some of the toughest of the season, with soaring temperatures, demanding roads and rugged mountain stages coming together to wage war on competitors.
Round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship on the Mediterranean island marks the half-way point of the season in sundrenched style. But the summer temperatures and baked special stages are set to be a real test for man and machine.
Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt are well-aware of the event's challenge. Low average speeds mixed with short, sharp corners and roads littered with rocks and lined with trees mean there's no margin for error.
Their expertly-built M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC can cope with the demands of the island tracks and they will predominantly use DMACK's hard compound GH23 tyres for the first time this season. Conditions can become rough and rutted, especially on the second pass, with sharp rocks an ever-present hazard.
The low speed roads also change the demands placed on tyres with more longitudinal stresses on the tyre carcass rather than the side forces usually experienced on gravel events.
The event starts from its base in Alghero on Thursday evening but has an overnight halt in Olbia on Thursday night. A remote tyre fitting zone on Friday kicks off the real action with two passes over a loop of four stages to the west of Olbia.
Saturday is the longest day with 143km of action and a 5am start, before four short stages on Sunday close to Alghero round off the weekend.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "From a tyre perspective, this is probably one of the toughest events of the season. We've improved the durability of our tyres significantly since last year, so we are confident from a performance aspect. However, the conditions, especially on second pass, are some of the hardest we'll encounter."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "With high temperatures and the traditional rough roads, Sardinia is set to be a real challenge. From a driver's perspective it's important to be physically prepared and properly hydrated as it's always a hot and busy rally. Road cleaning on the first pass is an important factor so it will be interesting to see how that works out."
Evans Pushes For Top Pace In Portugal | 12 May 2017
Evans is hoping to continue the impressive gravel performance which saw them come within 0.7 seconds of a maiden FIA World Rally Championship victory, when the team tackles Vodafone Rally de Portugal next week.
Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt, were blisteringly fast last time out at Rally Argentina - setting the highest number of fastest stage times on an event this year and coming within a whisker of a debut WRC win.
They led for all but two stages, surprised many with their pace and proved that the partnership will be a competitive force this season.
Some of the roads in Portugal next week are expected to have similar soft surfaces to Argentina, but the stages are slower, more technical and littered with rocks at the side of the road. Second pass becomes badly rutted and cars pull out even more rocks which can damage both wheels and tyres.
DMACK has again nominated the soft compound GS62 version of its DMG+2 gravel tyre as the main choice for the Porto-based event. WRC crews will have a maximum of 28 over the weekend while WRC 2 drivers will have access to 26 DMG+22 tyres, designed specifically for R5 cars.
As one of the original rounds of the inaugural WRC in 1973, Rally Portugal is steeped in history and attracts huge numbers of spectators. The route runs to the north of the service park in Matosinhos and the iconic Fafe test on Sunday, with its famous jump, is set to attract tens of thousands of fans.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "Portugal is a tough rally and always throws up some challenging conditions. We proved in Argentina that our gravel products are very competitive and we will be aiming to replicate that performance. However, the stages are technical and second pass can become pretty rough and rutted."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "The overall package worked really well in Argentina and the plan in Portugal is just to push as hard as we can again and put in the best performance possible. We had a positive run in Argentina but that hasn't changed anything - we go to Portugal to do our best and aim as high as possible."
Evans Denied Victory By Less Than A Second | 30 April 2017
Elfyn Evans and Dan Barritt had led the fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship since the second stage on Friday but, in a dramatic final-stage twist, they clipped a bridge just kilometres from the end and dropped to second overall.
It was a momentous event, however, for the British DMACK crew who used the DMG+2 GS62 tyre to set a pace that left more experienced competitors in their wake. They stormed through the opening day of the event and put in an untouchable performance to win six stages and hold an overnight lead of 55.7 seconds.
It was DMACK's best-ever day in the WRC as Evans powered his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC into a commanding position as other drivers faltered on the rough gravel stages around the Santa Rosa de Calamuchita valley.
Maximising the superior performance of their soft compound tyres, they continued to set the pace on Saturday on some of the toughest conditions in the championship. Another stage win took their total to seven, the highest number scored on an individual rally by any driver this season.
Then a misunderstanding with a pacenote on stage 12 forced Evans to slide wide and he picked up a puncture. There was further drama when the rear diffuser ripped off after a heavy landing, affecting the handling in the rear of the car, and Evans inevitably dropped further time.
They took a slender 11.5 second advantage into the final day today but temporary loss of brakes and an overheating engine meant they held a 0.6 second lead going into the final stage over the iconic El Condor mountain pass.
After edging ahead at the halfway point, Evans clipped a bridge and lost just enough time to see his lead turn into a 0.7 second deficit - his and DMACK's dream of a debut WRC victory slipped away. The second place equalled DMACK's best finish in the championship and signalled Evans' intention to chase his maiden win this season.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It has been an incredible weekend on probably the toughest and most challenging event in the WRC. Elfyn and Dan produced a stunning performance this weekend and it is extremely reassuring to know we have the complete package to challenge for victory on all of the gravel events this season. We look forward to taking the battle to Michelin in Portugal."
Elfyn Evans said: "It's been a milestone event in my career. We are obviously disappointed at not sealing our first win in the WRC but this weekend has made me even more determined. We've picked up so much from this rally, I know I have the pace to challenge at the top now and the experience will help me to improve even further."
Mechanical problems halt Elfyn Evans' Challenge | 9 April 2017
Scoring three fastest stage times on the roads of Rallye Monte Carlo in January, Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt came to the event searching for another strong display. But on only the second stage on Friday, their M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC lost hydraulic pressure - forcing Evans to limp through the remaining day's three stages with limited use of the car's differentials and gearbox.
He dropped back to 18th and ploughed further down the classification on Saturday after sliding off the road and getting stuck on the outside of a left corner. It was a rally to forget for the pair but they did complete two long stages to provide the DMACK technicians with valuable comparison data and feedback.
The new-generation DMT-RC22 had been designed for 2017's new high-powered rally cars with a blend of both durability and performance - to tackle the expected 80km competitive loops of this ruthless rally. They were a big step forward from last season and upgrades are already planned to further improve the pace for the next sealed surface event in Germany.
There was further positive news from the opening round of the 2017 FIA Junior World Rally Championship, where DMACK is both official partner and tyre supplier. The new 16" DMT-RC2 proved ultra-competitive for the Ford Fiesta R2 cars - promoting DMACK as a leading supplier of competitive asphalt products for smaller front-wheel-drive cars.
Boasting 10 of the world's top young rally talent, the Junior category was won by Spain's Nil Solans with Nicolas Ciamin second and Terry Folb third.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "We have made some steps forward compared to 2016. The focus was very much on durability due to the forecasted 80km loops and new WRC cars, so when the loops were reduced to around 65km it didn't work in our favour. We already have upgrades planned as we continue development, it's just a shame Elfyn was unable to get more stages completed because of the various problems."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "This has always been one of my favourite events so it's disappointing not to have been in a position to have challenged for a strong result. We had problems with the car on the opening day and the mistake yesterday, so it's just not been our rally. It's not been a wasted weekend, we've learnt a lot and collected important information that we can use to be stronger at the next asphalt event. Now, the focus is very much on Argentina."
Elfyn Evans finalises preparation with test in Corsica | 31 March 2017
Next week's Tour de Corse, the first all-asphalt round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship will see British tyre manufacturer DMACK roll out its final new tyre for the WRC season. The company has a new hard compound H6+ version of its DMT-RC22, packed with performance upgrades, for drivers competing in WRC and WRC 2.
The iconic island event is also the first round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, where DMACK is official partner and tyre supplier.
After setting three fastest stage times on the asphalt roads of Rallye Monte Carlo in January, Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt will be aiming for another strong display in their M-Sport World Rally Team-entered Ford Fiesta WRC.
Evans has topped the time-sheets on six occasions already this year, getting DMACK's seventh consecutive WRC season off to a best-ever start. Next week's arduous asphalt adventure will see the Welshman use DMACK's DMT-RC22 tyres in S6+ and H6+ compounds.
Evans scored his best-ever WRC finish of second on this event in 2015 and tested in Corsica last week to finalise preparations and find the optimum set-up with the new hard compound tyre. All WRC drivers have a maximum allocation of 32 tyres over the weekend, while WRC 2 and R5 drivers have 30.
Meanwhile the successful Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which ran over three seasons, will effectively become the new Junior WRC this season. With DMACK offering the huge prize of seven WRC 2 events, the series has attracted an initial entry of 10 of the world's top young rally talent.
The aspiring stars will take to the first of six rounds at the wheel of identical Ford Fiesta R2T rally cars, equipped with a completely new range of DMACK tyres. They will debut DMACK's new 195/50R16 DMT-RC2, with design influenced by the company's WRC tyre, and have two compounds available.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "We gathered a lot of information and experience from last year's event and we come to Corsica well prepared with a totally new tyre. We've focused on upgrades in the construction and compounding so we hope to see a significant gain in performance from 2016."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "Corsica is always a challenging event but it's one where we've traditionally had strong results. It helps a lot that the route is so similar to last year and that we competed there just six months ago. The weather could again play a big part over the weekend, but either way we are still ready and looking forward to the challenge."
Elfyn Evans finishes ninth despite engine penalty | 12 March 2017
DMACK took its first gravel stage victories of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season this weekend, on the debut of its new range of upgraded gravel rally tyres.
Brits Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt used the new DMG+2 tyres to set a string of top times across the tough gravel roads of Rally Guanajuato Mexico, allowing DMACK to once again demonstrate its world-leading performance and set fastest times on three of the 18 special stages.
The more-powerful 2017-specification world rally cars were expected to demand greater tyre durability, especially on gravel, and DMACK ramped up the performance of its new products. First-up was a new innovative construction, improving sidewall stiffness, adding precision and making the tyre more robust.
DMACK also upgraded its hard and soft compounds to deliver both greater endurance and enhanced performance with the use of state-of-the-art compounding and advanced rubber components.
Evans' rally got off to the worst possible start on Wednesday. After pre-event shakedown, the engine in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC expired and had to be changed - he was handed a five-minute time penalty and dropped to last place before the rally had even started.
Rally Mexico kicked off with a day trip to Mexico City's Zocalo Square for two spectator-packed stages and Evans set about clawing the time back. When the real competition started in the mountains above Leon on Friday, he finished second on three stages and scored his first gravel stage win of the season - despite an overheating engine slowing his charge.
Adding two more stage victories on Saturday, Evans and Barritt miraculously climbed to ninth after three full days of action across the high-altitude Mexican roads.
Alongside tyres for top-class WRC cars, DMACK has also developed a totally new range of DMG+22 gravel products dedicated for R5 cars competing in WRC 2. Local hero Benito Guerra used both hard and soft compound tyres on his Fabia R5 over the weekend to score DMACK's first podium of the season in the category.
Hot temperatures mixed with tropical rain showers made conditions, and tyre choices, an even greater challenge. The Rally Mexico route climbed to 2737m and that high altitude meant engines struggled to breathe with power reduced by around 20 per cent.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "It's been a positive weekend and we've again shown that the DMACK tyre can be competitive alongside Michelin. We're really pleased with the performance of the new gravel range and encouraged that we've scored three fastest times on the first gravel event of the season. Elfyn and Dan have again delivered another solid performance in tough conditions."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "Overall I'm pretty happy with the performance this weekend. We've been competitive, scored three fastest times and got valuable mileage during our first time on gravel with this car. It's been a tricky weekend, having to run first on the road, but we've definitely made the most of it and have good confidence for the next gravel rally in Argentina."
Elfyn equals his best result in Sweden | 12 February 2017
The second round of the series at Rally Sweden this weekend saw Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt storm home in sixth, equalling their best finish in Sweden, after an extremely positive weekend.
After setting three fastest stage times on the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo last month, Evans and Barritt were on confident form and immediately settled into a strong pace on Friday's full day of opening action around Torsby.
But Evans ran slightly wide on a medium-speed, right corner on stage four and his Ford Fiesta WRC ploughed into a snow bank - smashing a chunk out of the rear wheel in the process. He was forced to limp to the end of the stage and dropped back to 12th place.
However, despite being slowed by running near the front of the field for two days and losing more time today when the engine dropped down on power for an entire stage, the pair mastered the ultra-fast, frozen forest roads, climbing their way back up to sixth place.
Benefitting from a new directional tread pattern, their DMG-ICE2 tyres also made their mark on the event. Armed with 384 metal studs in each tyre, and using upgraded technology which resulted in an unrivalled level of stud retention, they provided incredible grip and traction by biting into the solid ice-covered stages.
The performance was a significant leap forward for DMACK and signalled the firm's intention to target front-running pace on all events and surfaces this season.
Rally Sweden once again saw action cross into Norway and finished this afternoon in Torsby after 17 competitive stages and 300km of action on the ice-packed roads.
Evans holds sixth place in the overall championship standings as the action moves to the high-altitude, gravel stages of Rally Mexico in March.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "In general, we were very happy with the performance of our new DMG-ICE2 tyres and have showed a very competitive pace once again with the new cars when on a level playing field. The stud retention and tyre performance was extremely good all event, however, Elfyn's mistake on Friday meant he lost road position and ended up running behind the narrower world rally cars."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "Overall it's been an encouraging weekend after having limited testing before the rally. Our pace was strong on the first day but unfortunately the mistake dropped us time and also meant we were disadvantaged by running at the front of the field. However, it's another good haul of points, we are sixth in the championship and I'm confident as we head to the more traditional gravel events."
Elfyn joins DMACK In 2017 WRC Campaign | 09 January 2017
British tyre manufacturer DMACK will continue to compete at the pinnacle of world motorsport for the seventh consecutive season, with confirmation that it will contest the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship.
Heading the challenge for the DMACK World Rally Team will be 28-year-old Welshman Elfyn Evans in a 2017-specification Ford Fiesta WRC. Reigning British Rally Champion Evans will be reunited with long-term English co-driver Daniel Barritt - making it a truly British team.
Evans has had a short but successful partnership with DMACK, lifting the 2016 British Rally Championship title after winning five of the seven rounds and taking overall victory at the Bettega Memorial rally last month.
He will be at the wheel of M-Sport's groundbreaking Ford Fiesta WRC and will be nominated as M-Sport's third points scoring driver when the series kicks off with the iconic Rally Monte Carlo. The pair will finalise their preparations with a pre-event test in France on Friday 13 January.
DMACK will also continue its WRC 2 seven-round programme for the winners of last year's Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Champion Osian Pryce from Wales will be joined by Finland's Max Vatanen and Northern Irishman Jon Armstrong - all three sharing the prize drives in an M-Sport Fiesta R5.
The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, which has seen DMACK provide the biggest prize in world rallying to the world's best young talent for the past three years, is set to become the FIA Junior WRC this season.
Comprising six rounds of the WRC, drivers from around the world will compete in identical Fiesta R2T cars run by M-Sport - again battling for the Drive DMACK prize of a full season in WRC 2.
DMACK will compete alongside Michelin as approved WRC tyre manufacturers for the seventh consecutive season. Last year was the firm's most successful season, scoring 30 fastest stage times and leading two rallies outright after an intense 15-month period of technical development.
For 2017, DMACK will continue to supply its DMACK Grippa tyre range with performance upgrades to suit both WRC and WRC 2 competitors. The asphalt tyre has a revised tread pattern, profile and compounds while the successful gravel tyre benefits from performance enhancements including a run-flat construction.
Both the Monte Carlo and Sweden winter tyres have been completely redesigned with new tread patterns and studding systems.
DMACK's 2017 season kicks off with Rally Monte Carlo which blasts away from Casino Square in Monaco on Thursday 19 January.
Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: "Last year was pivotal in DMACK's history - from both a performance and technical development aspect. Our small but extremely focused team has made huge strides forward and we're determined to maintain that progression this season.
"Elfyn has been a great ambassador for DMACK when dominating the British championship and I'm confident his hunger for success will shine through this year."
Elfyn Evans, DMACK WRC driver, said: "I'm really excited to be back driving a WRC car again at an exciting period for the sport with the new generation cars - and I'm thankful to DMACK for the opportunity. I've really enjoyed working with them over the last 12 months and being part of the development of new 2017 products.
"Being away from the top level for a season has been really hard, but it's made me more motivated and determined to make the most of this opportunity."
Elfyn wins the 2016 British Rally Championship title | Tue 06 September 2016
Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry were provisionally crowned 2016 MSA British Rally Champions after sealing a commanding victory on a difficult Ulster Rally. The Welsh pair celebrated their fourth overall rally win from five finishes to move into an unbeatable position in the series with one round still remaining.
Elfyn followed in the footsteps of his father Gwyndaf, who won the British Rally Championship exactly 20 years ago. Using DMACK's range of recently launched Tarmac rally tyres, he and Craig finished over a minute ahead of the competition after winning half of the rally's 14 demanding special stages.
Based in Londonderry, the Ulster Rally took in a range of dirty and slippery country rounds and mountain passes. But the mixed and constantly changing weather conditions meant that the road conditions ranged from dry to full wet with gravel and mud making them treacherously slippery.
The complete range of DMACK options from wets, extra soft, soft and medium compound tyres were used across the weekend to tackle the tough stages. However, Evans mastered the conditions better than most and held a slim 4.5 second lead after the opening day's six stages south of Derry.
He and Craig then stepped up the pace in their Autotek-run Ford Fiesta R5 and held a 50-second advantage going into the final loop of three stages. They cruised through the abrasive mountain tests to take a commanding victory and seal a sensational British title for DMACK.
Elfyn Evans said: "It feels really good to win the BRC title in style with one round still remaining but it was a difficult event and hard to concentrate on the job in hand. The rally was really tough, probably the hardest of the season with the weather changing all the time. To win the rally and the championship is very special, especially as it was 20 years since my father was champion."
Glenn Patterson, DMACK British Rally Team manager, said: "Winning the championship is certainly the highlight of a strong season after a number of unbeatable performances from Elfyn and Craig. This rally was difficult, unpredictable and a huge challenge but we made the right choices and the full suite of tyres worked remarkably well. Taking the victory here was certainly a real team effort."