EV Cargo’s global brand ambassador Elfyn Evans got his FIA World Rally Championship challenge back on track, scoring his first podium of the season by racing his hybrid-powered Toyota GR Yaris rally car to second place on Rally Portugal.
In this new season where sustainable technology has been incorporated into the rally cars, he got his challenge off to a perfect start by going quickest through the first main stage on Friday morning to storm into the lead. His rally car, which is powered by 100% sustainable fuel and runs in full electric mode on some of the non-competitive sections, was a match for the tough conditions on Friday and Elfyn continued to set a string of leading times to hold a 13.6 second overnight advantage.
Driving for the official Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, Elfyn extended his lead with another fastest time on Saturday morning.
Locked in a battle with championship leader Kalle Rovanperra all weekend, he was a little too cautious during Saturday’s afternoon stages when rain made conditions extremely slippery and lost time, rounding the day off in second place, just 5.7 second adrift.
Despite a hard charge on the final day, Elfyn couldn’t overhaul Rovanperra and finished second to secure his best result of the season and move up to fifth place in the championship standings. The result also saw another fantastic 1-2 finish for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, storming clear in the manufacturer title race.
Elfyn Evans said: “We did come here with the plan to fight for victory and, while it’s disappointing to have just missed out, second place is a strong result and helps get our season back on track after a slow start.
“It was a tough event and we were fortunate to have steered clear of any major problems. However, there are some areas we can focus on improving for the next event.
Akio Toyoda, Team Founder and President of Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “As we are competing with a new car from this season, Portugal was the first gravel event for the GR YARIS Rally1, and the team was not sure how well the new car would be able to perform on this surface.
“It was Elfyn who set the top time on the first gravel stage. His great run made us all relieved. He may be frustrated to miss the victory this time, but this great result for TGR was led by Elfyn and Scott. I really thank them.”
The action continues with Rally Sardinia on 2-5 June.