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Mon 20 Mar 2023

Evans upbeat despite Wolf Power Stage blow

Elfyn Evans has refused to be downbeat about missing out on second place at Guanajuato Rally México last weekend.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver was demoted from the runners-up spot by Thierry Neuville in the Wolf Power Stage, missing out on the position by just four-tenths of a second after driving with a bent suspension arm on his GR Yaris Rally1 throughout the final day.

Taking away the positives from the event, Evans arrived in León 12 points adrift of the championship lead. He departs in precisely the same position – the only difference is that he now trails Sébastien Ogier rather than M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tänak.

“I think we’re getting there now; we’re definitely moving in the right direction with the car and with my driving and with the set-up with the car,” Evans said. “Things are improving all around and we’re finding some consistency, which is good.

“It’s frustrating to miss second, but we were carrying the problem with the bent suspension arm. We got this near the end of Otates and the repair we did meant that we couldn’t really attack the stages as much as we wanted or needed to, to keep the position. Everything’s open with the championship, which is good.” 

Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala praised the Welshman’s fighting spirit and also lauded the work his engineers have done to improve the car’s competitiveness on rough gravel events.  

He added: “There was a little moment when I felt a little bit disappointed because we were so close to having a 1-2 finish. But at the end, Elfyn fought hard and he did what he could with everything that was happening.

Guanajuato Rally México 2023: Sunday Highlights

“You could see on his face that he had this fighting spirit and, even though Thierry was a little bit faster, we got the third with him and the victory with Séb [Ogier]. That showed that our development engineers have done an amazing job turning our car back in the game on these kinds of rough, hot, gravel rallies.”

Moving forwards to Croatia and round four, Evans finished a close second in 2021 but struggled to fifth in Zagreb last time out.