Elfyn Evans wins the Rally de Portugal, but misses out on the lead in the World Rally Championship. The Toyota driver has won three of the last five stages and finished 28.3 seconds ahead of Spaniard Dani Sordo. Evans finished fifth on the last power stage and earned a bonus point. Despite the overall picture in the WRC Drivers “Championship, this applause victory is necessary for the British rally driver, here is why:
#1 Jari Matti Latvala is watching
Rally de Portugal is the fourth career victory for Elfyn Evans. As you remember, Jari Matti Latvala led Toyota Gazoo racing WRC as team principal this year. At the moment he is showing his best in this role. Elfyn Evans therefore needs the maximum attack to save his form in the WRC and to prove to Jari Matti Latvala what he deserves.
#2 Sebastien Ogier makes the pressure
Staying close to Sebastien Ogier is the stress for a normal rally driver, but the stress increases to five times to be a team-mate of the world championship leader. At the moment, Sebastien Ogier scored three points after finishing third on the final stage behind Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak, two riders who retired and rejoined earlier in the race. Often, Sebastien Ogier looks a head taller than the others. It’s hard to save his speed like staying close to the French without winning rallies.
#3 Elfyn Evans wins… but bad luck comes at the worst possible time.
To be lucky in any motorsport series means to stay away from mistakes. Sometimes, something really bad happens to Elfyn Evans. I remember one of them in career of British rally driver. It was Rally Corsica Linea 2019, Tour de Corse. Everything was in his hands behind the wheel of M-Sport, but he hit the stone on the power stage. At that moment I stopped and thought he was still the winner of the Rally Corsica for me because he beat the time.
If something like punctures or stones happen very often, you can lose confidence, which is not the right way for Elfyn Evans.
#4 Hyundai WRT is a very tricky rival.
Although Toyota Gazoo Racing leading in the overall standings of the WRC, Hyundai can turn the race around. The team is always ready to show unexpected speed and support the drivers, which puts additional pressure. Who would have expected, for example, that Dani Sordo would be so fast with third place in the Rally de Portugal? As part of the Toyota team, Elfyn Evans cannot fall into the mud first. Thus, his victory in Portugal is the pride of the entire team.
In the overall standings, the 25 points for winning this weekend’s rally means Evans and co-driver Scott Martin now have 77 points, while Toyota team-mate Ogier, who finished third in Portugal, has 79 after four events.
“It feels good. We perhaps weren’t the fastest crew this weekend, but we had really good pace and kept out of trouble and obviously did enough to keep Dani at bay today” – Elfyn Evans, BBC
Ironically, the Hyundai was supposed to be the most reliable, but it was the reliability that let the rally team down. At the same time, we expected Toyota to break down at some point, but it is this issue that driver Elfin Evans took the control of, which helped him win the Rally de Portugal. Congratulations to Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin.