Evans & Toyota triumph in Portugal

Having narrowly missed out in Croatia to team mate Ogier, Elfyn Evans' fourth career World Rally Championship victory in Portugal, his first since Rally Turkey last year, has elevated him to second in the WRC drivers' standings just two points behind leader Ogier.
Following a Hyundai blitzkrieg on the opening days, the Welsh driver played a steady game and began the final day holding a 10.7-second advantage over Hyundai's Dani Sordo and fastest times scored on three of Sunday's six special stages allowed him to increase that lead to almost 30s by the finish. Evans's Toyota teammates Ogier and Takamoto were third and fourth, with Greensmith and Fourmaux in fifth and sixth for M-Sport, Lappi seventh for VW ahead of Suninen's Fiesta, both WRC 2 cars.
Winning the first gravel round of the year was the perfect tonic for Evans after his final stage disappointment on Rally Croatia last month, when Ogier denied him top spot in the closing miles by under a second. Evans himself admitted after the Power Stage in Portugal the performance had come at a good time for him following his recent narrow defeat in Croatia.
"Obviously, it's a fantastic way to finish by clinching the win," Evans said. "It wasn't all plain sailing all the way through the weekend, and we maybe weren't the absolute fastest crew, but we still had really good pace and the performance was generally quite consistent."
Toyota's new team principle Jari-Matti Latvala modestly said: "Generally, the team has been doing really good work over the weekend with a lot of positive things to take away, Seb scoring the third place - bringing great points for the championship - and also Takamoto taking his best ever result in fourth."
All in all it was a successful Portuguese weekend for Toyota in the manufacturers' battle as the Japanese squad now hold a 37-point lead over reigning champions Hyundai Motorsport. In the driver's championship, Ogier and Evans now occupy the top two spots split by just two points going into next month's Rally Sardinia.

24th May, 2021