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WRC Central Europe Rally

Evans reflects on Central European Rally crash as WRC title hopes now remote

Elfyn Evans says his Central European Rally crash that appears to have ended his World Rally Championship title hopes is a “disappointment” after a much stronger 2023 campaign.

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

The Toyota driver admitted his title hopes were a long shot coming into the rally as the Welshman needed to outscore title rival and team-mate Kalle Rovanpera to take the fight to next month’s Japan finale.

However these hopes are now hanging by a thread after crashing out of stage 11, the final test of the Saturday morning loop.

Running in third position, Evans slid off the road at right hander at relatively slow speed and then collided with a shed that ripped a rear wheel from his GR Yaris.

“The car braked initially okay and the speed came off as I had expected but at the moment I turned in it locked an inside front wheel and it pushed us out, and when the road is narrow like that there was absolutely nowhere to go,” Evans, a two-time rally winner this year, told Autosport.

“It wasn’t too big an impact. We were heading into the shed, let’s say, too fast to go in head first.

“We tried to rotate the car to maybe see if I could get away with hitting it sideways but unfortunately I caught the radiator on the corner of the shed.

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

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

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

“The main issue was that the slab of the shed was not level with the ground and it was sticking up eight or nine inches, and it ripped the rear wheel off.”

The crash arrived after rally leader Rovanpera overshot a hairpin in stage 10 that slashed the gap between the pair to 24.2s heading into stage 11, initially boosting Evans’ title hopes.

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Asked about the likely prospect of Rovanpera now sealing a second world title this weekend, he added: “Of course it is a disappointment. We knew anyway it was a long shot. We knew we had to try what we could in a way, and having said that I think this type of incident is just one of those things.

“We have made steps in the right direction [this season after a winless 2022] that is for sure. There is still work to do in some areas, that is also clear, it is at least getting better.”

Evans is confident his GR Yaris can be repaired to allow him to rejoin the rally on Sunday.

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