Evans already targeting much improved 2023 WRC campaign

Elfyn Evans says he is already putting plans in place in the hope it leads to a “much stronger” World Rally Championship campaign in 2023.
Evans already targeting much improved 2023 WRC campaign

Having finished a close runner-up to eight-time champion Sebastien Ogier in the 2020 and 2021 title races, the Welshman ended this year a distant fourth in the final drivers’ standings behind the Hyundai’s of Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville, and the Toyota of eventual champion and team-mate, Kalle Rovanpera.

The Welshman displayed flashes of brilliance in the competition’s new Rally1 hybrid era, bagging runner-up finishes at Rally de Portugal, Safari Rally Kenya, Rally Estonia and Ypres Rally in Belgium alongside Scott Martin.

He also led World Rally Championship rounds on several occasions but a combination of individual errors – including a huge accident on the penultimate event in New Zealand that damaged his car’s roll cage and forced him to retire – and a puncture on this month’s Rally Japan that denied him a much sought-after victory.

While acknowledging these missed opportunities, and having previously said that lessons must be learned, Evans is sure of success moving forward. “I’m excited to be heading into my fourth year with Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said Evans.

“We obviously enjoyed some great success already in our first two years together, and although 2022 didn’t deliver quite what I was hoping for on my side, I’m very happy to be part of such a successful team and one which is working so hard to improve all the time.

“Hopefully we can make 2023 a much stronger year on a personal side, and continue the great success of the team,” he added.

Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala labelled the year as “not easy” for Evans but feels there are signs he will “be strong in 2023”. That optimism has been fuelled by the 33-year-old’s understanding of the GR Yaris Rally1 in recent months, and how best to maximise its potential on gravel and asphalt.

Toyota President and WRC team founder Akio Toyoda is also sure the tide will turn for him, saying: “Though Elfyn and Scott had a difficult year in 2022, we will do our utmost to support them by building a strong car for a year in which we can achieve stronger results. So, let’s make it a great year together!”

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