WELSHMAN Elfyn Evans’ hopes of a top-six finish in the opening rally of this year’s 2019 WRC series were dashed when he crashed out of the Rallye Monte Carlo at the weekend.

The Welshman still had the podium in his sights when he had a puncture on the first speed test of day two. His race then finished on the second stage when he hit a patch of black ice which sent him crashing down an embankment and into the undergrowth.

Evans and co-driver Scott Martin have high hopes for this season after the Dolgellau-born driver was named as the M-Sport Ford team leader for this season.

The honours for last weekend’s season opener went to the six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier.

However the Frenchman didn’t have it all his own way as he narrowly managed to fend off his countryman Thierry Neuville by just 2.2 seconds in the closest Monte Carlo finish in history. It was an emotional triumph for Ogier on his return to Citroën and marked the French manufacturer’s 100th world rally success.