Next year’s FIA World Rally Championship will see two British drivers competing at the highest level for the first time since the glory days of Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
Earlier this week the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team announced its 2014 WRC attack will include Northern Irish star Kris Meeke and today (13 December) the M-Sport World Rally Team has confirmed its 2014 line-up will feature promising young Welshman Elfyn Evans.
“This is just fantastic news for the sport in the UK and, in particular Wales,” enthused Coe. “We were thrilled when Citroen signed Kris and now we are further excited that M-Sport has given Elfyn this equally fabulous opportunity. To have a Welsh driver competing at the forefront of the World Championship is a great reward for the Welsh Government, which has been a great supporter of our sport for more than a decade.
“The timing couldn’t be much better either, coming so soon after the huge success of last month’s revitalised Wales Rally GB,” continued Coe. “The move to a new base in north Wales saw the reintroduction of some classic forest stages and a huge leap in spectator numbers – the only ingredient missing was a British driver in contention for victory. Now, with Kris and Elfyn both in major teams, we have two potential British winners.”
Evans is widely hailed as one of the sport’s brightest up-and-coming talents. The 24-year-old – son of 1996 British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans – won the WRC Academy in 2012 and last year impressed in the WRC2 category, notably when taking top class honours on Wales Rally GB.
Now the youngster and his co-driver Daniel Barritt graduate to one of two officially entered M-Sport Fiesta RS WRCs as team-mates to multiple WRC winner Mikko Hirvonen.
“It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be driving a world rally car for a full season next year!” admitted a delighted Evans. “For Dan and I it is great to be able to take the next step in our careers. The whole team is behind us and we have a long-term plan to get to where we all, ultimately, want to be. This is just the first step and I am extremely grateful to M-Sport for this opportunity and their belief in my future.”
Wales Rally GB