Mon 08 May 2023

Wet weather on Evans’ wish list for Portugal

Elfyn Evans will be doing a rain dance as he prepares to start this week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (11 - 14 May), round five of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing star grabbed the joint championship lead thanks to his victory last time out in Croatia, and now shares the top spot with GR Yaris team-mate Sébastien Ogier. Ogier, however, is not competing this week - which means Evans starts first in the order.

While Evans’ starting position would be considered advantageous on asphalt, in Portugal - a loose gravel affair - it’s exactly the opposite. The rocky speed tests are covered by soft and sandy dirt, offering little grip for the early runners if conditions are dry.

“Of course, now we lead the championship,” Evans said, “which means it’s going to be a difficult start to Rally Portugal unless the weather is in our favour. It’s just part of the territory, really - we’ve been in this position before, so we just have to get on with it.

“Naturally, if it is dry as expected then it’s going to be difficult starting early on the road but of course we will be doing our best as usual,” he added.

But the Welshman isn’t feeling too worried, either. With a long sequence of gravel rallies lined up over the coming months, he believes his top-flight WRC peers will also have to carry out their fair share of road-cleaning duties.

“Obviously the points gaps are all very, very tight between the top five,” he continued. “I believe I’ve landed a bit with the short straw here I think, for [what is only] a few points’ advantage.

“But, at the end of the day, it’s a run of seven gravel rallies and I’m sure the advantage is going to swing in all directions for a few rallies still.”

Trailer: Vodafone Rally de Portugal
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM