Turkish Delight for Toyota & Evans!

Elfyn Evans secured a good win on Rally Turkey to climb back on top of the World Rally Championship drivers' standings after high drama in the hillsides around Marmaris. After taking a cautious approach throughout the most attritional event on the WRC calendar, the Welshman reaped his reward and a third career WRC victory and his first season driving for Toyota.

To reach the top step of the podium Evans first saw off Hyundai's Thierry Neuville and Toyota's Sebastien Ogier after a furious battle at the top of the order but both men picked up punctures on the first stage of the last day, as did the third-place man overnight, Hyundai's Sebastien Loeb.

But Evans' was patient and he emerged with a mighty 47 second advantage over the erstwhile leaders. Neuville overhauled Ogier into second and attempted to close the gap to Evans, then Ogier's Yaris WRC began emitting smoke and the six-time champion was out which elevated nine-time world champion Loeb back into the podium places in the second Hyundai.

In a display of gamesmanship, Ott Tanak restarted out of the points battle after steering failure on Saturday and the Estonian took a road penalty to push Ogier in front of him and then slotted into place in front of his two team-mates on the penultimate stage. After launching off the start with purpose, Tanak then parked and allowed both Neuville and Loeb through in front of him to minimize the number of rocks thrown in their path before gently motoring through to the end.

Tanak's focus was on the five bonus points available for winning the final Power Stage. Thus, equipped with just one spare tyre and running the softest rubber that he dared, Tanak set a blistering time of 4m20.8s to claim the five bonus points that might help to retain his 2019 drivers' crown.

Evans now holds an 18-point lead over Ogier with two rounds remaining on the Covid-affected calendar. Tanak's Power Stage points keep him level with Rovanpera in third, while Neuville's 23-point Turkish haul brings him back into contention a further five points adrift. Toyota remains at the top of the manufacturers' standings by nine points.

Rally Turkey Results

1. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 2h 43m 02.7
2. Thierry Neuville/N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai + 35.2
3. Sebastien Loeb/D.Elena Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai + 59.4
4. Kalle Roveanpera/J.Halttunen Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT + 2m35.9
5. Gus Greensmith/E.Edmondson M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta + 4m08.3
6. Escapekka Lappi/J.Ferm M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta +5m.36.2

22nd September, 2020