BARROWFORD navigator Daniel Barritt declared himself thoroughly satisfied with a sixth-placed finish in the opening event of the World Rally Championship.
Barritt helped Welsh driver Elfyn Evans to an encouraging start to the year at the Rallye Monte Carlo, which took place in challenging conditions – including heavy snow on parts of the mountain course in southern France.
Last year’s world champion Sebastien Ogier won the rally but Barritt was happy that he and Evans made it to the end of the event.
Fellow M-Sport driver Robert Kubica, the ex-Formula 1 driver, was forced to retire after an off-road excursion.
“It’s probably the most difficult rally of the year,” Barritt said.
“We just didn’t want to make any mistakes and made sure we made it to the finish, and we did that.
“The conditions on the first day caught everyone out.
“We did the first three stages on slick tyres in snow.
“That was tricky. Then on the Saturday we had a stage where we climbed to 1,6000m in heavy snow before going back to 1,000m where there were was no snow.
“We had to be careful but it was fine.
“We were very happy with sixth and it gives us a platform to build on for the next couple of rallies now.”
Barritt and Evans fly out next week for testing ahead of the Rally Sweden, which starts on February 5 and will see drivers use ‘studded’ tyres.
The Rally Guanajuato Mexico follows on March 6.
“Elfyn hasn’t driven in Sweden or Mexico before but that start to the season gives us confidence,” Barritt said.
“We’re going to Sweden for 12 days including the rally.
“It’s a very high speed rally and you’d think it would be somewhere where you’ve got low grip.
“But we’ve got special designed tyres for the conditions so it’s not actually that bad.”