Elfyn Evans takes narrow win as British Rally Championship returns

Elfyn Evans scored a home victory as the revived British Rally Championship began with the Mid Wales Stages, but he was pushed all the way by Fredrik Ahlin

Elfyn Evans takes narrow win as British Rally Championship returns

The two had battled fiercely in WRC2 on last month's World Rally Championship round in Sweden, before Ahlin had a puncture, and they picked up where they left off in Newtown.

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.

Evans topped both and held a 17.2-second overnight lead.

But when the rally moved into the light 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 rallied on the Hafren/Sweet Lamb test - a personal favourite - and reclaimed the lead, then held on through Myherin/Pikes Peak to win by 17.1s.

Evans, driving for the DMACK British Rally Team and on its tyres for the first time in his career, elected to play his 'joker' on this rally, which gives him double points for this round. All drivers can use the joker once in the season.

Tom Cave made it a Ford Fiesta R5 top three and fought off David Bogie for the final step on the podium.

Cave had a puncture on Friday and was coming back to driving after a huge crash on the Red Kite Stages rally last month, but bounced back well.

Bogie suffered a possible driveshaft 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 was paused for 2015 so the MSA could take a different route for its future.

The 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 event ran smoothly despite the weather concerns almost halting it, seven cars having got stuck on the first recce stage on Friday due to the difficult conditions.

LEADING FINISHERS 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 
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