British drivers ensure international revival as they excel again in the World Rally Championship

with strong results in Rally FranceNorthern Ireland’s Kris Meeke scores fourth podium of the year finishing thirdWRC Rookie Elfyn Evans impresses again as he claws back to sixth following mechanical issuesWith just Rally Spain left before the British finale of the World Rally Championship at Wales Rally GB on 13 – 16 November, British drivers again emphasised their revival at world level in 2014 for the first time since the successful McRae- Burns era eleven years ago by scoring a strong podium and a sixth place.Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke put in a strong performance on tarmac for a controlled third place considering his lack of sealed surface experience in the World Rally Championship.WRC rookie Elfyn Evans further underlined his potential with a remarkable turn-around from mechanical problems and penalties to end up winning a fight for sixth place, scoring more precious world championship points.Both British drivers showed their skills at Rallye de France Alsace, round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, the final all-asphalt event of the 2014 season. Hosted in the city of Strasbourg, the tarmac stages take in the Vosges Mountains and Alsatian vineyards with bumpy but fast forest roads and fast downhill sections providing an acute test of driving skills over the slippery lanes partially covered in gravel which acted like marbles.Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle were on the pace right from the start holding third position throughout the event. The duo weren’t taking any risks in their Citroën DS3 WRC, maintaining a fast consistent pace to stay in touch with the leading Volkswagen Polo WRC’s of Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. On Sunday the Northern Irishman felt he made the wrong tyre choice with the soft option and had to back off in the first stages of the day to protect them, however he had a comfortable cushion ahead of the battle for fourth between Dani Sordo and Robert Kubica who unfortunately crashed out the rally on the very last stage, gifting the fourth spot to Sordo.Welshman Elfyn Evans enjoyed a fantastic start to the rally running in fourth position, however the M-Sport Fiesta developed an electrical problem on Friday. Elfyn and co-driver Daniel Barritt had their strength and athleticism tested in a different way, having to push their car 150 metres uphill to reach the midpoint service and avoid retirement. Despite their efforts, the duo was given a time penalty of 1m40sec for arriving 10 minutes late but this was far preferable to retirement.Despite this drama the M-Sport duo powered on and made up some positions to eighth. On Saturday Evans spun his Fiesta RS but the Welshman retained eighth and kept pushing to ultimately finish sixth overall plus the rookie took second in the Power Stage giving him two extra championship points.Latvala was the overall winner, his first win on tarmac, leading a Volkswagen 1-2 ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen. Latvala’s victory keeps the title battle alive with his VW team mate and championship leader Sebastien Ogier who could only managed to finish 13th at his home event after mechanical issues.British drivers Meeke and Evans return to action in the penultimate round of 2014 in Spain on 23 - 26 October. There are less than six weeks until the WRC season culminates in the only British round, Wales Rally GB on 13 – 16 November 2014. Both drivers are looking forward to competing at their home event and tickets are on sale now at Meeke (3rd)“I’m really happy with my weekend. I couldn’t have done much more. Today was all about protecting my position. If I really stuck my neck out I could get close to the Volkswagens, but the more important thing for me is consistency.“We were on the pace right from the very start of the rally. We then focussed mainly on protecting our position. I feel we have been very consistent throughout the weekend and that’s what has helped us to pick up another podium finish. I think we can still improve and get some better results soon.”Elfyn Evans (6th)"We can be pretty happy. Okay, we had some mechanical problems, but in the grand scheme of things they're irrelevant. We've been very reliable and the performance was what we were after this year. It’s been good for my confidence."

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