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Mon 07 Aug 2023

WRC title fight is on, says Finland winner Evans

Elfyn Evans feels his Secto Rally Finland victory has provided “light at the end of the tunnel” in his pursuit of a maiden FIA World Rally Championship title.

Evans dominated last week’s ninth WRC round on the superfast roads around Jyväskylä and claimed his seventh career victory after finishing 39.1sec ahead of Thierry Neuville in a Toyota GR Yaris.

A Wolf Power Stage victory ensured the Welshman collected 30 points - the maximum available - from the gravel road fixture and he slashed team-mate Kalle Rovanperä’s series lead from 55 to 25 points after the defending champion rolled into retirement on Friday.

With four rounds remaining, one more slip up from Rovanperä has the potential to elevate Evans to the top of the standings.  

“It's still quite a big gap to Kalle in front and we know he's on great form, but of course we're here to try and challenge for the championship,” Evans said.  “That's naturally our aim.

“Of course, there's a lot more light at the end of the tunnel than there was when we were heading in here. And in terms of the championship now, it's more 'on' again and we're looking forward to continuing to fight for the rest of the year.

“It was unfortunate what happened to Kalle and Jonne,” he added. “I think they were quite unlucky. You never like to see that, especially in quite a fast place. Obviously, we're glad they're both okay.”

Evans came close to clinching the WRC crown in 2020 but slid off the road at the final round in Monza whilst holding a 14-point championship lead over Sébastien Ogier.

Of his second Finland-winning performance, he said: “It was actually quite similar to how I felt here in 2021, although I would say the risk was probably a bit higher in 2021 when I won. But I had an equally good feeling in the car this weekend and those times kept coming, which was nice.”

Secto Rally Finland 2023: Event Highlights