Wed 11 Oct 2023

Evans: Ott was untouchable - even without Chile tyre errors

Elfyn Evans reckons that challenging Ott Tänak for the Rally Chile Bio Bío win would have been a tall order - even if tyre tactics hadn’t have backfired on his Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

Evans was instrumental in helping Toyota clinch its third-consecutive manufacturers’ title at the 11th FIA World Rally Championship round of the season, with the Welshman and team-mate Kalle Rovanperä finishing third and fourth overall respectively as well as locking out the top two on the bonus points-paying Wolf Power Stage. 

Both drivers finished more than a minute back, however, from rally-winning M-Sport Ford driver Tänak, who built the majority of his lead on Saturday morning when his decision to carry six hard compound Pirelli tyres proved to be the correct one. 

In contrast, all three of Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally1 cars were using soft compound rubber which wore more excessively than expected.

“Ott was fast here this weekend,” Evans conceded, “and I still think [with the correct tyre choice] it would have been difficult to beat him. But I think, when you’re in the fight with a better road position etcetera, it has such a massive effect on all the days. 

“I don’t know realistically if it would have been possible to challenge Ott, but I definitely think second place could have been possible.”

Evans explained how lower humidity levels compared with the WRC’s previous visit to Chile in 2019 had changed the tyre dynamic, adding: “There was a big difference [in conditions], but in 2019 it was a lot more humid and there was a lot more moisture about, basically, so we weren’t as taken aback by the high wear.”

Evans’ result moved him to within 31 points of his championship-leading colleague Rovanperä. Outscoring the Finn by at least two points at Central European Rally later this month (26 - 29 November) would ensure he takes the drivers’ championship fight to November’s season finale in Japan.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM