EV Cargo’s global brand ambassador Elfyn Evans strengthened his FIA World Rally Championship challenge after a stunning second place on the all-new Croatia Rally, round three of the global motorsport series.
After challenging for the lead all weekend, Elfyn missed out on victory by just 0.6 seconds, narrowly edged out on the final stage by seven-time champion Seb Ogier. The result sees Elfyn consolidate his third place in the championship and narrow the gap to the leader to just 10 points.
It was a strong performance from the Welsh driver, again behind the wheel of his Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC car. From the opening day on Friday, he set a string of top times and was never outside the top-three all weekend.
A solid first day on the new event, based in the capital Zagreb, saw him end the day third overall just eight seconds off the lead. However, he mastered the tricky roads on Saturday and overcome the difficult cuts and gravel sections to round the day off in second place – setting up a thrilling final day battle for the win.
That got off to the best possible start as Elfyn convincingly won the first two stages on Sunday to move into the overall lead by a mere 2.8 seconds.
But as the battle went down to the very last 14km stage, Elfyn slid wide on the final corner and dropped a couple of seconds – enough to see him slip back to second place and miss out on victory by just 0.6 seconds.
The result, Elfyn’s second podium of the season, cemented a dominant 1-2 finish for the Toyota team and boosted both its and Elfyn’s championship challenges.
Elfyn Evans said: “We came close, very close, but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be this time. We had a solid performance all weekend, made correct tyre choices and tried a couple of different set-up options on the Yaris WRC.
“We had one bad stage where we dropped a bit of time and that let us down really. It was a tough event, a new rally with a lot of unknowns, and lots of corner cutting which made the road very dirty.
“Overall it’s a great result for the Toyota team and strengthens the championship challenge.”
The championship switches to gravel next with Rally Portugal on 20-23 May.
It has also been confirmed that next year’s WRC will continue its focus on sustainability as it introduces new hybrid technology for competing cars for the first time.