Elfyn Evans has ambitious plan to seal glory for Britain in Rally Championship
The revamped British Rally Championship, which includes the Circuit of Ireland and the Ulster International, just stepped up a gear.
Elfyn Evans is moving from a full-time World championship role, where he was battling with the likes of Kris Meeke, to lead a new DMACK Tyres Ford team alongside Max Vatanen, the son of former World champion Ari.
Evans, son of former Ulster Rally winner Gwyndaf Evans, was disappointed to lose his place in the main M-Sport Ford team but will still contest a number of rounds in the WRC2 category, starting with this month's Monte Carlo Rally.
However, the 27-year-old Welshman also goes back to his roots to spearhead an ambitious bid by Cumbria-based tyre supplier DMACK to capture the British championship with a pair of R5 Ford Fiestas, the second being driven by 25-year-old Vatanen.
His father Ari is a former British champion and no stranger to Irish rallies but this is new territory for Max, a French-based Finn who has been competing in WRC R2. He says he is happy to follow in his dad's footsteps and build his career through iconic British events like the Circuit.
"The championship will provide me with some great experience and the support from my father and new team-mate Elfyn will be valuable. I don't have much knowledge of the UK, especially on tarmac, so it will be a learning season for me," he said.
Evans sees his return to the BRC as part of a process to regain his place at World level. He said: "It's good to be back at a time when organisers are putting effort into re-building the series and the events will provide me with seat time in the Fiesta R5 for our WRC2 challenge."
DMACK have only been in business since 2009 but are already making in-roads in rallying including their Ford Fiesta R2 Trophy series in the World championship. Now, in another initiative with Ford's M-Sport organisation, they are creating a new BRC Driver Award which will see the winner join the team in a DMACK R5 Fiesta next year.