EV Cargo brand ambassador, world rally driver Elfyn Evans, got his FIA World Rally Championship off to a stunning start at this weekend’s iconic Rallye Monte Carlo, finishing on the podium with a well-earned second place.
After missing out on the world title last year by just a few points, Elfyn was aiming for a solid start to the season, but was up against team-mate and local driver, seven-time world champion Seb Ogier.
However, Monte Carlo is famed for its extreme winter weather and Elfyn and co-driver Scott Martin would also have to master the ever-changing snow and ice conditions.
They started well, holding third position after day one in their Toyota Yaris WRC car, but moved into second after the first stage on Friday morning. Building speed and confidence, they edged ahead during the day, setting fastest stage times to hold the overnight lead.
But the roads in the French mountains around host town Gap became increasingly icy on Saturday and, with conditions deteriorating, they lost ground to Ogier as the race wound its way south to the principality of Monaco.
The final day saw a thrilling finale over four timed stages, the final one providing bonus points for the top-five drivers. Battling snow and black ice, they conceded time to a charging Ogier and settled for second place, collecting three additional bonus points on the way.
Not only was it a super start to the championship but their Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team scored a fantastic 1-2 to notch up an early lead in the manufacturer series.
Elfyn received his trophy from Prince Albert of Monaco.
Elfyn Evans said: “It was a good result, especially on such an iconic event like Monte Carlo and one that we had to work very hard for. Second gives us a solid start to the championship and it’s a great way to kick off my partnership with EV Cargo.
“It really was a classic Rallye Monte Carlo this year. The mixed weather conditions provided a huge challenge, you have so many different road conditions in one stage and it makes choosing the right tyre a real lottery. On many of the stages we used a studded tyre which works well in snow and ice but then you can turn a corner and it’s a fully dry road where a slick tyre would be best.
“I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with the car in these extreme conditions so we just didn’t have that extra pace to challenge for victory, but it’s a strong start.
The championship continues its winter theme as Elfyn heads to round two at the Arctic Finland Rally, in the Arctic Circle, which starts on 26 February.