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FEB 9, 2014

A SOLID WRC PERFORMANCE FROM M-SPORT IN SWEDEN

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(M-Sport Press Release)

Mikko Hirvonen and Elfyn Evans may be poles apart in terms of Rally Sweden experience, but both M-Sport World Rally Team drivers put in a solid performance at the FIA World Rally Championship’s only snow event of the year. Battling for the podium positions, Hirvonen ultimately had to settle for fourth. Unfortunately for Evans, an untimely off on the final stage cost him what could have been a points-paying ninth place.
 
Having been in the fight for the top positions, Hirvonen and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen rejuvenated their relationship with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Able to battle with the leaders, the Finn has established a solid base on which to build as the season ensues.
 
Opting to be safe rather than sorry through the final speed tests, Hirvonen kept well clear of the snow banks which threatened to snare anyone who ventured even slightly off line. Keeping his head, the Finn was not going to be distracted from his objective of finishing the event – securing a strong result and continuing to build momentum for the season ahead.
 
Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt came tantalisingly close to achieving their aim of making it through all 24 stages unscathed. Having never contested a full-snow rally with Michelin’s studded tyres, the Welshman made the most of his debut – learning the rally and developing his skills as he went.
 
Building knowledge and confidence with each stage, Evans’ focussed on seconds per kilometre as opposed to an overall result and it was encouraging to see that his pace improved throughout the weekend – showcasing his speed with the occasional split to challenge the front-runners.
 
Regrettably, his hard work was to go unrewarded on the final speed test. Sliding wide in the treacherous conditions, his Fiesta RS WRC hit one of the predatory snow banks. With damage to the radiator there was no hope of making it back to service and the Welshman was forced to make an untimely retirement.

OVERALL RESULTS
STAGE PERFORMANCES (SS17 - SS24)
WRC DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
WRC MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS