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WRC Rally Chile

Evans: Catching WRC title favourite Rovanpera is “not impossible”

Elfyn Evans says it’s “not impossible” to deny Kalle Rovanpera a second World Rally Championship title, but believes he will likely require errors from his Toyota team-mate.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The championship battle is realistically between Evans and Rovanpera now after the latter increased his lead to 33 points over the former following a third win of the season in Greece earlier this month.

With three rounds of the season remaining, reigning world champion Rovanpera can seal a second crown this week when the WRC heads to Chile.

The Finn will need to win the rally and finish at least third fastest on the final Power Stage, if Evans fails to register any points, to successfully defend his championship crown.

While time is beginning to run out for Evans in the title race, the two-time championship runner-up will “give it everything” to keep his hopes alive on Chile’s gravel stages.

“It is a big [points] gap and it inevitably needs to come down if we want to have chance to do it at the end of the year,” said Evans, who has scored wins in Croatia and Finland this year.

“It is not impossible but we start to go into the territory where he will need [Rovanpera] to make a little error here or there. We are going to have to win some rallies.

“Of course it’s still all to fight for and we’re going to keep giving everything until it’s not possible at the end of the year. That is what we are here for.

“Of course Kalle’s driving extremely well at the moment and there’s no doubt that he’s going to be difficult to catch with the speed he’s got at the moment, but it doesn’t mean we won’t stop trying.”

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Chile is however set to provide a relatively level playing field for competitors with the rally featuring only one stage that has been carried over from the championship’s last visit in 2019.

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This will be the first time Rovanpera has tackled Chile’s roads in a Rally1 car after contesting 2019 in Rally2 machinery.

“It is a bit like Rally GB at points but I believe there his only a few stages that are the same [as 2019]. I don’t know the exact percentage but there is a lot of new pacenotes. It could be difficult," added Evans.

“I think we will have to treat Chile like a new rally as there isn’t so much knowledge from the past, but nonetheless I’m looking forward to it and it was a great event looking back to 2019.”

The 16 stage rally begins on Friday after a shakedown on Thursday afternoon.

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