Evans: Croatia Rally win "doesn't mean that much right now"

Elfyn Evans says he was left with “pretty mixed emotions” following his Croatia Rally victory at the weekend – an event that was overshadowed by the death of fellow competitor and friend Craig Breen during a testing accident earlier this month.
Evans: Croatia Rally win

Evans and team-mate Scott Martin – who was a former co-driver to Breen during their Peugeot Sport and Citroen Racing days – secured their first win in the World Rally Championship in 18 months. Their last came at Rally Finland in 2021.

After escaping punishment from the stewards on Thursday after a turbo issue with his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 prevented him from completing the mandatory three runs of the shakedown stage, the Welshman quickly established himself as one of the contenders to challenge for the win.

After Friday’s eight special stages, he trailed Hyundai Motorsport’s Thierry Neuville by 5.8 seconds before being handed a 19 second lead on Saturday’s third speed test when the Belgian oversteered on a right-hander and smacked the rear-left wheel against what appeared to be a concrete pipe.

From then on, Evans steered clear of trouble to take an emotional victory, finishing almost half-a-minute up the road from M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tanak

“I have pretty mixed emotions obviously, back to almost like reality now after the full focus of the rally weekend,” said Evans when asked to sum the weekend up.

“Definitely mixed emotions. I don’t really know what to feel to be perfectly honest. On a sporting side of course it’s a sense of relief having been quite a while without a win and being close a few times but not quite making it happen.

“So, definitely positive on that side. But obviously the flipside is we remember the news of last week and obviously we’re back in reality now.”

He added: “Obviously, we have been working for another win like this for a long time but that doesn’t mean so much right at this moment. It’s been a tough week for everybody and the whole WRC family can be proud of how everyone has come together and paid tribute to Craig.

“Competition went on as usual, as he would have wanted. It seemed a bit of a tall order to win here with our road position on Friday with the amount of dirt on the road, but some others hit trouble and that gave us an opportunity to fight for the win.

“Scott and myself promised Craig’s family that we would enjoy this weekend and we’ve been able to do that. Now it’s all over, our thoughts turn back to them.”

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