The Welshman went into Saturday night’s short Porto - Foz street stage with a 16.4sec advantage over the Spaniard. He conceded 5.7sec in just 3.30km to put the pressure back on himself ahead of the short final leg.
Evans finally crushed Sordo’s hopes by retaking almost 10sec in Sunday’s opening Felgueiras speed test, doubling his overnight advantage and allowing him to measure his pace through the remaining four stages to clinch a fourth career victory.
“I was pretty angry with the way the super special had gone on Saturday night and put myself back under pressure. A 16sec lead would have been a lot more manageable with the distance we had remaining, but 10sec was not so much,” he told wrc.com.
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“I knew we needed a good time because I knew it was going to be a fight all day, but I was not expecting to take back the margin I did.”
Evans played with his tyre options ahead of the stage, a move he immediately regretted.
“Dani must have driven very well to do that time but we had a really bad stage as well. It was an incorrect choice on my behalf to fit the tyres I did, I should have just stuck with what I had. That was my error,” Evans explained.
Victory by 28.3sec, his fourth career success in the FIA World Rally Championship, promoted Evans to second in the standings. He sits two points adrift of Toyota Yaris team-mate Sébastien Ogier after four of 12 rounds.
It also provided the perfect response to last month’s Croatia Rally. Evans ran wide in the final corner of the rally, allowing Ogier to sneak by and win by 0.6sec in the championship’s third closest finish in history.
“It was quite a harsh penalty in a way for the small mistake that cost a couple seconds in Croatia and cost us 10 points in the championship race. It was nice to win back some ground on Séb here,” he acknowledged.
“A few [wins] have slipped away recently and I wanted to make sure we delivered this time. It wasn’t an easy rally by any means and was quite long to be honest, going back to a full-length rally, and the recce was really intense. The days were quite long as well.”