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Evans: New points system offered “zero reward” from “mega” WRC battle

Elfyn Evans felt he gained “zero reward” from finishing second at the Croatia Rally due to the World Rally Championship’s new points structure for 2024.

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

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The Toyota driver has been among the most critical of the new points system and again brought the subject back into question after finishing second behind team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

Evans scooped 19 points from the weekend, picking up 15 for finishing second on Saturday before claiming three from the Super Sunday classification and one from the Power Stage.

His tally matched title rival Thierry Neuville, who finished third, to ensure Evans continues to trail the Hyundai driver by six points in the championship standings. 

Another quirk of the points structure saw Ott Tanak claim 20 points, one less than rally winner Ogier after finishing fourth. Tanak picked up 10 points after ending Saturday fourth but earned six points from finishing second in the Sunday standings, and four points from the Power Stage.

After being involved in a “mega” battle for the win with Neuville and Ogier throughout the rally before a mistake on stage 18, Evans felt his efforts were not sufficiently rewarded.

“Of course, there was a lot of joy from it [the close fight with Neuville] but at the end of it all even though we have had a mega weekend, it feels like there is zero reward for it given the new points structure,” Evans told Autosport when asked about his tense battle for the win.

“Adrien [Fourmaux] spent 15 minutes changing his steering arm and he has got 13 points and we have come away with 19 points and Ott has got 20 points. It is difficult to feel joy and you can clearly see that on the podium, everybody is in the same boat.”

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

The new points system is being monitored by the FIA, but the intention is for the system to see out the season according to the governing body’s road sport director Andrew Wheatley.

“The rules are set year by year and if you want to change the points system in the year you have to have unanimous agreement of every registered competitor and that is incredibly difficult to do,” said Wheatley on the Friday of the event.

“The intention of the points system is to let it run for the year and we are constantly monitoring it to understand what the implications are and what the opportunities are. We have had a couple of ends of the spectrum. I don’t think we have had anybody reporting at the end of a Sunday stage saying that they are just driving round.

“What it has done so far is it has achieved its target [to improve the action on Sundays] however we have both ends of the spectrum and we have to see if we are still achieving the target at the middle or the end of the season.”

In addition to frustrations over the points system, Evans rued a “big error” in taking more hard tyres than his rivals, which he felt contributed to his costly spin in stage 18 that ended his victory hopes.

“I am just so disappointed with my tyre choice this morning it was quite a big error to go so brave,” added Evans.

“The conditions were worse than what we expected, and we knew there would be pollution [on the road] and we didn’t quite expect it to be as bad as it was.

“Of course, the spin happened as a result of the hard tyre on the rear, so it was definitely a mistake to go with that choice today.”

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