A faultless performance at the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse earned Elfyn Evans his third WRC 2 victory of the year.
The championship leader knew he had to win to keep his title hopes alive and he duly delivered a masterclass on the Mediterranean island’s bumpy and twisty asphalt roads.
He and co-driver Craig Parry headed closest challenger Jan Kopecky by 33.3sec after almost 400km of competitive driving.
The Welshman’s Fiesta R5 led after the first day and it motored further ahead on day two as Evans won three of the four stages that were run in changeable conditions.
Kopecky had the upper hand in terms of stage times on Sunday but Evans was already managing his advantage by this stage.
“We did what we had to do,” Evans explained. ”We had to win to keep our championship hopes alive and the pace has been good all weekend. We had a special edge when we needed it."
Kopecky meanwhile, acknowledged that he’d been beaten by the better man in Corsica. The Skoda Fabia R5 driver said: “Congratulations to Elfyn because he did a great job. There were two stages where we weren't really able to match him and that's how we lost the rally.”
Evans and Kopecky were the only drivers that had largely clean runs in Corsica. Yoann Bonato survived to take third place at the finish but the Frenchman was more than three minutes behind Kopecky.
Losing more than a minute on Saturday’s damp penultimate stage effectively ended his chances of challenging those ahead. "That was unbelievable,” he said at the stage finish. “It was impossible to drive on the wet surface with these tyres.”
Julien Maurin arrived at the Porto-Vecchio finish in fourth place after also enduring a difficult event. He suffered a fifth-gear spin on the first day and then also lost time on Saturday after hitting some rocks in his Skoda Fabia R5.
Rally 2 runners Pierre-Louis Loubet and Quentin Gilbert completed the top six in their respective Citroën DS 3 R5s, but both men were more than 30 minutes off the rally-wining pace on home soil after they picked up their penalties.
Hyundai’s i20 R5 was on course for a podium finish early on but Kevin Abbring was forced to retire early on the second day with water temperature concerns.