DANIEL Barritt and Elfyn Evans are celebrating this week after chalking up their best-ever result in the World Rally Championship.
An inspired drive in very difficult conditions saw the pair take fourth place on the Rally Mexico.
For Barritt, who lives in Barrowford, and his Welsh driver, the result surpassed their previous WRC best of fifth and sixth respectively.
The M-Sport duo were one of the success stories of the weekend. Having been in the fight for the podium positions, they showed real maturity with flashes of speed on what is only their fourth event behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
It didn’t go unnoticed either, that despite their relative lack of experience, they eclipsed their team-mates Finn Mikko Hirvonen, who ended the rally down in eighth place, and former Grand Prix star Robert Kubica, who crashed twice.
“We certainly didn’t come here expecting to finish fourth – simply to finish would have been an achievement given how little experience we have on these kinds of stages and how many of the top drivers were caught out,” said Evans at the finish.
“We put in some strong performances on some individual stages and identified a few areas for improvement as the weekend went on.
“It’s all part of the learning curve and we’re really looking forward to Portugal.
“I think we can develop even more and be a real threat on all of the rounds.”
The duo’s performance drew praise from M-Sport’s team boss, Malcolm Wilson.
He said: “It has been a very encouraging weekend for us. Elfyn is progressing really well and his fourth place – his best ever finish in the WRC – is thoroughly well deserved.
“He wasn’t drawn into any unnecessary battles and did exactly what was asked of him – all in all a very mature drive from a driver who has the potential to do extremely well in the future.”
World Championship leader Sebastien Ogier won the rally ahead of Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala. Evans sits in sixth place in the Championship standings after the opening three rounds of the season.
Round four in Portugal takes place from April 3 to 6.