Thursday | 13 May 2021

Evans relaxed about contract talk

Elfyn Evans says he won’t let Hyundai Motorsport’s recent driver signings distract his attention from the job of challenging for this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.

The Alzenau-based team recently agreed new terms with current drivers Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville, sparking speculation about Evans’ own future.

The Welshman’s Toyota Gazoo Racing contract is up at the end of the season, making him the highest profile frontline driver on the market for 2022.

Team-mate Sébastien Ogier has already made clear his intention to retire from full-time WRC competition at the end of the year, although there has already been talk of sporadic outings for the seven-time champion.

Video: Vodafone Rally de Portugal - Fafe

Evans admitted he hadn’t thought too deeply about whether he would remain in a Toyota Yaris next season or potentially return to M-Sport Ford.

“I’m fairly relaxed about [the contract] for now,” Evans said. “So far, very little has been talked about [in terms of his deal] and coming into back-to-back rallies in Portugal and Sardinia, there’s plenty going on in the car right now.”

However, Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala stressed that retaining Evans, who joined Toyota at the start of 2020 on a two-year contract, is right at the top of his priority list.

“We want to keep Elfyn. He is a great asset for the team. I could and would see him as a team leader. He has the experience and I have been really impressed with how I have seen him grow up,” he said.

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“We have a great driver line-up and we’re working really hard to maintain it for the future.”

Evans lies third in the championship going into next week’s fourth round at Vodafone Rally de Portugal (20 - 23 May). He lies 10 points behind Ogier and is two adrift of Thierry Neuville.

• Full coverage from Vodafone Rally de Portugal will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.