Bad luck saw Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt denied a chance to fight for the podium positions in their M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC at this weekend’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
Evans and Barritt had the pace to challenge, but were cruelly halted by the smallest of mistakes.
Overcoming their later running order through the opening day of competition, the British pairing were locked in an intense battle for the podium and were amongst the favourites to take home the silverware.
Then, on the first pass of Römerstrasse (SS11), they were caught out by some gravel and ran wide into a field. It was a mistake that would so often go unpunished, but the luckless Brits encountered a concrete block concealed in the undergrowth which damaged the suspension.
Their stage performances were SS16: 8th (+21.6), SS17: 8th (+15.8) and SS18: 8th (+26.6) as they finished 25th, and Evans said: “We had a positive first day and, considering our road position, I think we did a pretty good job. But unfortunately Saturday just didn’t go our way at all. We lost a bit of time on the opening stage [SS8], had a spin in the third one [SS10] and then a trip into the field in the fourth [SS11] which ended in retirement.
“It certainly wasn’t the result we came here for, so now we just have to look forward to the next one.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “It’s been a frustrating weekend for the team as we had the performance to deliver a lot more.
“Luck has not been on our side here in Germany, but the season is not over yet and anything can happen with four events left to contest.
“It would have been difficult to beat Ott (Tänak), but Sébastien (Ogier) was right on his tail and had the pace to challenge for the win.
“The puncture denied him and Julien (Ingrassia) a strong haul of points that would have seen them reduce the gap in the championship, but fourth place and a win in the Power Stage is good damage limitation and proves that we still have what it takes.
“Elfyn too was unlucky this weekend – going off at the same place as Craig (Breen) in an incident which would ordinarily have gone unpunished.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Elfyn and he was denied an opportunity to fight for the podium.
“Teemu (Suninen) on the other hand has had an absolutely fantastic weekend – bettering everyone’s expectations on his first outing with a world rally car on Tarmac. He is such a fast learner, and you can see how much he takes in over the course of a weekend. It was a great performance, and suggests that he has the potential to be just as impressive on this surface as he is on gravel.”