WRC Academy crews were contesting 12 of the all-asphalt event’s 15 stages and Briton Evans, who was competing on the rally for the first time, held a margin of 1m09.9s at the completion of the final Arena Panzerplatte test on Saturday evening.
“I’m very happy,” said the 24-year-old Evans, who was co-driven by fellow Briton Phil Pugh. “We had a difficult to find a rhythm and the set-up of the car so it took a while to get that going. We were lucky with a couple of moments but we got our heads together, did a solid job and built on our advantage from then on.”
Jose Suarez, from Spain, finished second but there was late drama when Australian Brendan Reeves lost out in his bid for a fourth consecutive podium after he went off on the final stage and got stuck on logs for several minutes. He eventually finished in fifth behind fourth-placed Timo van der Marel and John MacCrone, who bagged his maiden podium in the category with a charging run through the final stage to overhaul his Dutch rival.
Alastair Fisher should have been fourth on the back of a spate of stage wins but stopped on the final stage when his Ford Fiesta R2, used as standard in the young driver-training category, got stuck in first gear.
After restarting on day two following his car’s driveshaft failure on Friday’s opening run, Pontus Tidemand finished sixth. Guest driver Martin Koci also restarted on Saturday morning after he tore a wheel off his car on stage one. He completed the finishers in seventh place.
Fredrik Ahlin was forced to withdraw from seventh when he fell ill. The Swede had also been struggling with a hand injury, the legacy of his crash on the previous round in Finland.