Evans takes narrow Mid Wales stages win

Elfyn Evans battled fiercely with his old aversary in WRC2 on last month's World Rally Championship round in Sweden - Fredrik Ahlin when they picked up just where they left off in Newtown. But Evans scored a narrow home victory as the revitalised British Rally Championship began with the Mid Wales Stages - pushed all the way by Ahlin.

The rally opened with two stages in the dark on Friday, both tests regularly run as part of Rally GB, and with snow adding another challenge but Evans topped both and held a 17.2-second overnight Advantage but when the rally moved into daylight with a very tricky Pikes Peak stage on Sunday morning, Evans struggled to clear the slush and snow as first car on the road and saw his lead cut precisely in half.

Ahlin gained even more on the following Myherin stage, going through into a 3.5s lead heading for service but Evans then raised his game on the Hafren/Sweet Lamb test - a personal favourite of his - and reclaimed the lead which he held on through Myherin/Pikes Peak to win by 17.1s. Driving for the DMACK British Rally Team and on its tyres for the first time in his career, Evans wisely elected to play his 'joker' on this rally, giving him double points for this round. All drivers can use the joker once in the season.

International Rally Drivers Club member Tom Cave made it a Ford Fiesta R5 top three and fought off David Bogie for the final step on the podium following a puncture on Friday and was returning to rallying after a huge crash on the Red Kite Stages rally last month. Bogie suffered a possible drive-shaft failure on the last test. Euan Thorburn rounded out the top five in his Peugeot, and Jonny Greer's eighth overall for Citroen means the championship boasted a car from each of the five R5 manufacturers in the top 10.

The Mid Wales Stages was the first event of the new BRC era, after the championship took a sabatical for 2015 to allow the MSA to evaluate the championship and change direction for its future. These changes were headlined by a switch to R5, S2000 and RRC machinery, and the organisers were rewarded with over 20 such cars - bigger than the usual WRC2 field. The Mid Wales Stages ran smoothly despite the weather concerns almost halting it after seven cars got stuck on the first recce stage on Friday due to the difficult conditions.

Results after SS6:
Pos .... Driver .... Car .... Time/Gap
1. Elfyn Evans Ford 1h08m14.3s
2. Fredrik Ahlin Ford +17.1s
3. Tom Cave Ford +1m26.8s
4. David Bogie Skoda +1m42.8s
5. Euan Thorburn Peugeot +2m43.0s
6. Josh Moffett Ford +3m32.5s
7. Matt Edwards Mitsubishi +3m46.5s
8. Jonathan Greer Citroen +4m00.4s
9. Keith Cronin Citroen +4m41.5s
10. Desi Henry Skoda +5m29.8s

6th March, 2016