Burnley-born co-driver Daniel Barritt and Elfyn Evans were rightly hailed ‘teammates of the year’ – playing a significant role as Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia defended their FIA World Rally Championships at the weekend in Australia.
The Brits played their part selflessly, handing the Frenchmen a more advantageous road position at detriment to themselves, and showing good speed despite the looser conditions they had to contend with as a result.
When road cleaning wasn’t a contributing factor, Evans showed his pace and set a string of top times through the super special stages.
It’s not been the season the Welshman had hoped for, but he has shown his speed and played his role admirably – helping the team defend two of their FIA World Rally Championships.
The pair were sixth at the Kennards Hire Rally, and Evans – seventh overall in the drivers’ standings – said: “Congratulations to Seb, Julien and the whole team. I’m glad they were able to secure this one and – even though it wasn’t always easy – I’m glad we were able to help them where we could.
“Obviously, for various reasons, our season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but the speed was there and hopefully we’ll have a chance to prove that again next year.”
This year’s championship has been the most exciting in years, but Ogier, Ingrassia and M-Sport Ford produced something special once again – speed, determination and outstanding team spirit all contributing to another very successful year for the Cumbrian squad.
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said: “It’s been an emotional day and I can tell you that this championship really does mean a lot. Two months ago it wasn’t looking good, but when you have Sébastien and Julien in your team you know that anything is possible.
“The way they fought back over the last three events was incredible and I am so proud of all we have achieved together. This was a proper team effort and I have to say that every single member of the team played their part in the result.”