Wednesday | 23 Nov 2022

Evans: Next year can be better

Despite missing out on a final-round win at FORUM8 Rally Japan, Elfyn Evans heads into the off-season knowing he made solid progress on the roads around Aichi.

The Welshman struggled to make an impact with a distant sixth-place finish on the penultimate asphalt round at RallyRACC – Rally de España last month, but he bounced back to win four stages and lead Japan into the final day - only to be denied victory after running wide and picking up a puncture.

Despite ending the inaugural Rally1 season down in fourth overall, Evans is happy with the progress he’s made and hopes to carry the same momentum through into 2023.

“I worked pretty hard after Spain,” said Evans. “We couldn’t carry on like that - how we were in Spain was working against me with this car. It might have worked last year and been quite fast, but it worked against me now. I knew that I had to adapt, and I did that in Japan.

Evans came close to winning in Japan

“I’m working well with the team on this and obviously, there’s going to be a period of adaptation and that’s what I’m going to be thinking about during the off-season. I want to understand everything a bit better and, hopefully, next year can be better.”

After finishing as runner-up to Sébastien Ogier for the 2020 and 2021 seasons in a Yaris World Rally Car, Evans struggled to adapt to aspects of the new Toyota GR Yaris Rally1. But Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala still has full belief in his driver.

“It’s been a tough one for Elfyn,” Latvala admitted, “but Japan showed what we know – he still has the speed he needs to win. We’re all working together to bring him to the pace he was showing against Séb a couple of years ago. We know he can do it.”

More WRC news