Thu 11 Aug 2022

Evans’ anguish at Finland frustrations

Elfyn Evans was left frustrated at being unable to repeat last year’s Secto Rally Finland-winning form on his return to Jyväskylä last weekend.

The Welshman was in the thick of the battle for the lead at the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship before suspension issues cost him close to a minute in Saturday’s final special stage.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing star eventually finished fourth on an event he dominated last season and lies fourth in the standings with five rounds remaining.

“It is a bit frustrating,” he admitted. “I don’t think we settled in across the whole weekend. We had the issue on Saturday, it’s a tough one really. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what it was, but I don’t think I felt as comfortable in the car as I did in [Rally] Estonia, for example.

“We were still on the fringes of the fight but never really got fully, fully involved. I struggled a bit with the feeling in the car a bit more this weekend than I have done in previous rallies, where it’s been more just myself.

“But here I never felt really fully comfortable with what the car was doing at all times. The car was good but just missing that last bit of feedback and confidence from it.

“We have also been changing quite a lot to try and find that but sometimes it made things worse so that’s never helping when it’s like that.”

Evans admitted he was still trying to find the same connection he’d enjoyed with the GR Yaris Rally1’s predecessor – a car in which he finished runner-up in the championship in 2020 and 2021.

“The move to the new car maybe hasn’t been as smooth [as we would have liked],” he said. “I don’t get quite the same feeling as I had from last year, but this is still a new car and these things can take time.

“We’re not a million miles away, there’s nowhere that we’ve really struggled – we’ve won stages and been in the fight on most rallies, but it’s just that last one or two per cent we’re missing.

“Like I said, it’s frustrating, but we just need to get our heads down and find that feeling and connection with the car.”

Video: Secto Rally Finland review
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