Winning Rally Finland pace came ‘naturally’, says Elfyn Evans

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Elfyn Evans has said ten fastest stage times en route to a comprehensive victory at Secto Rally Finland with team-mate Scott Martin was something that “came naturally” to him.
Winning Rally Finland pace came ‘naturally’, says Elfyn Evans

Evans took control of the ‘Gravel Grand Prix’ on Friday afternoon following the retirement of fellow Toyota driver and World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera – and never looked back.

The Welshman found an extra gear on Saturday to go fastest on seven consecutive speed tests before carrying that momentum into Sunday which culminated with him collecting five bonus points on the end-of-rally Power Stage.

Winning from Hyundai Motorsport’s Thierry Neuville by 39.1 seconds, he succeeded in narrowing Rovanpera’s advantage in the standing to 25 points with four rounds remaining with the next taking crews to Greece (September 7-10) for the Acropolis Rally.

“It has been a great weekend for us and it feels pretty special to win this rally for the second time. It’s one of my favourites and a home rally for the team with the factory being based in Jyväskylä,” said Evans, who is only the third non-Finnish driver to conquer the Jyvaskyla-based event on two occasions.

“It has been fantastic to drive this car on these roads and it has been a joy to be behind the wheel. We had a really nice feeling almost from the beginning. We were sorry to lose Kalle from the fight on Friday but then we could make a few little steps with the setup for Saturday which really boosted my confidence.

“Things really clicked and the stage times came naturally. It was a positive weekend in terms of the championship as well and we are now a bit closer to Kalle than we were before.”

Evans added: “It is a nice feeling and actually quite similar to how I was here in 2021, although I would say the risk was probably a bit higher in 2021 when I won.

“There was a massive fight going on three-ways with Ott [Tanak] and Craig [Breen] at that time, so yeah it went all the way down to the wire then. I had an equally good feeling in the car this weekend and those times kept coming – it was nice.”

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