Welsh rally driver, Meirion Evans, wears the favourites tag heading to Scotland’s Argyll Rally this weekend. Evans will tackle Dunoon’s 13 asphalt stages in his Volkswagen Polo R5.
Argyll Rally will be Evans’ first event wearing the number one doorcard but the 25-year-old reckons it won’t distract his return to rallying.
“It’s quite cool I suppose,” said Evans. “I don’t see any added pressure from my side as the task ahead is still the same.
“Maybe for the co-driver it makes it a bit more complicated with the new contactless timing but hopefully it won’t be a problem.”
Jonathan Jackson continues as Evans’ navigator, a partnership that stretches back to 2014. The pair will be hoping to rejuvenate some of the pre-Covid form they enjoyed in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship in 2019 and ‘20.
The championship visitors scored top ITRC points on the Cork 20 before finishing an impressive fourth overall in Galway on their Polo R5 debut.
“I surprised myself a bit in Galway because the stages were quite familiar to the other guys and we managed to race them from the start.
“The car was lovely to drive and when it’s like that you can put the times in. It felt like we had good momentum going into West Cork but that’s kind of been reset now.
“The car feels great though so hopefully we can get back onto the pace pretty quickly.”
A string of R5s and World Rally Cars, including a Skoda piloted by his father Melvyn, provide an intimidating top twenty for the Argyll Rally.
It begs the question, can Evans turn first on the road into his first overall rally win?
“Starting as car number one there’s obviously the hope that we can finish there as well, but let’s see.
“There are a lot of quick guys out but there’s quite a level playing field as the stages haven’t been rallied before and most of the guys haven’t done a proper rally in over a year like me.
“If we can do a good job and keep it clean with no mistakes to the end, hopefully the result will come.”
The Argyll Rally starts on Friday evening with two sprints around Dunoon before its first loop of three closed-road stages. The action continues on Saturday with another eight stages bringing the total competitive distance up to 93 kilometres.
Photos courtesy of Kevin Glendinning