Mixed emotions for the Brits on Rally Italia Sardegna

Welshman Elfyn Evans completes Rally Sardegna in an impressive fifth position Northern Irelands Kris Meeke drops out of fifth with electrical problemConditions were extremely tricky at Rally Sardegna, the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and despite many experienced drivers being caught out the British entrants competing at the event showed promising form.

Battling the trying conditions, M-Sport World Rally Team driver Elfyn Evans and co-driver Daniel Barritt kept their cool to bring their Ford Fiesta RS WRC home in an impressive fifth position. Rookie Evans had a fantastic and mature drive in the dusty, rocky conditions with varying grip levels, continuing to develop his skills in the top class and scoring another solid result.Irishman Kris Meeke was running fifth on the Sardinian gravel and sandy roads before an electrical problem in his Citroën DS3 WRC halted his progress. Meeke restarted on Saturday but had the unenviable task of running first on the roads and hit a rock causing some damage so he and co-driver Paul Nagle had to back off. The electrical problem on Friday dropped them back to 30th position however they made up many places over the weekend, ending the rally in 18th overall.There was a great battle at the front between Volkswagen team mates Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. Latvala was leading but on day two the Finn’s Polo had various issues, then he hit a large rock and had to fit a spare wheel. Reigning world champion Ogier took advantage and won his fourth rally of the 2014 season. Citroën’s Mads Ostberg took second place with Latvala salvaging third place despite his problems.Britons Evans and Meeke return to action in LOTOS 71st Rally Poland, 26 – 29 June. The WRC season culminates with the only British round, Wales Rally GB on 13 – 16 November 2014. Both drivers are already looking forward to competing in their home event and World Rally Passes are on sale now at www.walesrallygb.com.Elfyn Evans said: “There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend. We showed good speed at times and we’ve managed to run a clean event with no mistakes and no dramas at all. The car has been absolutely perfect all weekend, so all in all a very productive weekend.“Our next target will be to maintain the gap to the leaders throughout an entire weekend. Poland is going to be another new event for us so we’ll need to approach that with the aim of gaining as much experience as possible. Finland too will provide another steep learning curve as we haven’t had chance to complete the full rally in a four-wheel-drive car.“That said I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming events. We’ve made some good progress this weekend and I’m encouraged to continue that trend as the season continues.”Kris Meeke explained: “The rally had started well. We had good pace until the alternator problem meant we had to retire and rejoin under Rally 2 rules. From Saturday morning onwards, we were first on the road. It is always difficult to feel confident in conditions like that but it was an interesting and useful experience. I hope it’ll be useful in the future.”