Rally GB day four: British drivers show plenty of promise

Rally GB day four: British drivers show plenty of promise

Frenchman Sebastien Ogier won, but homegrown drivers have potential for the future

Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier capped a dominant championship winning campaign with his ninth victory of the season on Wales Rally GB. But while it was a French/German partnership that triumphed, the results of the rally had much to provide cheer to the home fans.

British rallying has struggled since the glory days when Colin McRae and Richard Burns scrapped for rally wins and titles. In fact, a British driver has not won a WRC event since McRae’s last win on the Safari Rally in 2002. In truth, there hasn’t been a driver who has come close since.

On current form, that drought should come to an end in the near future. Rapid Northern Irishman Kris Meeke, who wasn’t on Rally GB this week, has had outings in a works Citroen DS3 WRC this year and remains in contention for a 2014 drive. And the results of Rally GB suggest other British drivers may well follow him.

Chief among those was Elfyn Evans. The young Welshman secured his first victory in the second-tier WRC2 category with an assured drive on stages that he knows well. Evans drives for the M-Sport team, which used to run the works Ford team and now fields privateer Fiesta WRCs. He has hugely impressed team chief Malcolm Wilson with his driving, temperament and car development skills, and there seems a possibility of a part-campaign in a World Rally Car for next year.

Another Briton, Tom Cave, also turned heads with his speed in the WRC2 division. A big time penalty for taking too long in service changing a gearbox ruined his chances of a top overall result, but he set a string of fastest stage times against some proven drivers.

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