Saturday | 29 Feb 2020

Evans "I'm here to do my own thing"

World Rally Championship leader Elfyn Evans says the seeds of his early 2020 success were sown after he spent last year leading the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.

Evans headed-up the Cumbrian squad through 2019, following world champion Sébastien Ogier’s departure to Citroën. The Welshman says that experience taught him plenty about working on his own set-up and finding the confidence to go in his own direction.

"I’m at the point where I know exactly what I need from a car and I’m not afraid to go for that car," Evans explained. "Three years ago with Séb [Ogier] the last time, I would be thinking: 'Séb wants this, he's the world champion, so it can’t be wrong…' Actually, it’s more about understanding that I’m not here to copy Séb, I’m here to do my own thing.

"This isn’t something new for this year. I’d done some of that last year. I think this change started last year with the Sweden pre-event. I was first in the test and I knew the car [underperformed] the year before. I knew, we knew we had to change something. The team had some good ideas, I had some ideas and we combined them and bang, we came here and we were fast."

"We made a lot of changes. I had the team’s support, I had the time in the test. That gave the confidence to understand this is what works for me and this is what I want. It came again after Chile and Argentina, there were elements of the car I was struggling with. I had an idea, tried it, preferred it, went with it and it worked.

"That laid the foundations, I’d already turned the corner a little bit with M-Sport last year, but at the same time it’s early days here and I don’t want to talk things up too much. What we’ve had so far is two very specialist events, but it does give a little bit of self-belief that you can have your own direction."

Evans has taken podiums from the first two rounds, backing up his third place at Rallye Monte-Carlo with a win in Sweden. 

Talking about the Yaris WRC, he added: "The car gives good feedback, but I’ve gone down my own route with a few things – just little tweaks on things. It’s obvious the car’s already fast and very driveable and they have all the good set-ups that you need , but you still have a bit of personalisation."

Championship leader Evans will lead the field away at next month’s Rally Mexico.

WRC Rally Guanajuato México

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