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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

NGK-sponsored Elfyn Evans denied WRC victory

Date: 09-Apr-2019

NGK-sponsored Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin were denied a well-deserved victory at the World Rally Championship’s Tour de Corse – picking up a puncture through the final stage and having to settle for third place overall.

The M-Sport Ford World Rally team duo showed true class behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC car which is fitted with NGK spark plugs and NTK Lambda sensors. 
The pair started the final day 4.5 seconds behind eventual winner Thierry Neuville but were confident in the knowledge that they had the better of their rival throughout the rally.
Evans set a sensational time through the opening speed test – 8.8 seconds quicker than anyone else and a full 16 seconds quicker than Neuville. The Belgian had no hopes of matching the Welshman on speed alone, but fate played a hand through the final stage and Evans picked up a puncture but still made it to the finishing line in third place.

Team-mates Teemu Suninen and Marko Salminen were also showcasing some impressive speed, setting two third fastest stage times through the final stages and securing fifth place as well as three additional points in the power stage.
Elfyn Evans said: “I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it felt like we were in the middle of the road and just unfortunate to hit a stone or something in the line. Straight away I knew it didn’t sound good, and sure enough a couple of hundred metres later we got the puncture alarm. We had 11 kilometres to go and I knew that if we stopped to change it, we would lose a lot of positions. We decided to continue, and thankfully made it to the end to salvage a podium.
“Perhaps it’s not the result we wanted, but the pace is there, and I think we can all take confidence from that moving forward. We’ve had a pretty strong start to the season so far and I’ve been really happy with the Fiesta on all four of the opening rounds. The guys back at M-Sport are working exceptionally hard and making improvements all the time so I see no reason why we can’t continue this form into the coming events.”
Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “Elfyn and Scott were looking on course to record a well-deserved victory when the puncture occurred, but that’s racing. It was another impressive performance by them and Teemu and Marko and bodes well for the M-Sport Ford World Rally team for the rest of the season.”

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