It was in Wales 2017, 840 days ago since Toyota’s driver, Elfyn Evans had his first WRC victory in front of home fans and his second triumph this weekend at Rally Sweden 2020, third round of the WRC calendar. The British driver has put together an outstanding performance and has dominated the Rally from the start on Friday.
At Sunday’s only special after the rally being cut short due to the lack of snow, Evans battled out with and beat Hyundai’s star Ott Tänak by 12, 7 seconds. The Estonian, however, was also brilliant on the track being this his first full rally onboard the i20 Coupe WRC after suffering a dramatic accident in Monte Carlo.
In the end, the third place at Rally Sweden 2020 went to an extraordinary Kalle Rovanperä. The Finnish Rookie demonstrated that he has the quality and personality to achieve great things, skills that he put to good use in Sweeden beating his teammate Sébastien Ogier in the final stretch.
They both sustained a thrilling battle for the last step of the podium in which the Scandinavian debutant didn’t give an inch before the six-time champion. Ogier is, in fact, the second most successful driver in history behind Seb Loeb who has nine crowns.
Evans has triumphed on board his Yaris at this his second-ever WRC Rally and has climbed up to draw level at the top of the standings with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville with 42 points. The latter has only managed a sixth position in Sweden.
All of the forecasts have therefore come true in the single Power Stage of the last day as the lack of snow had obliged organisers to cancel one of the two stages that were originally planned.
Sunday battle: Rovanperä shines
On the last day, Evans made the most of the 17,2 seconds he had accrued over Tänak the day before, only giving in 4,5 to the Estonian. The Welshman was visibly comfortable during the 21,9 kilometres of the stage, where the abundance of mud resembled the conditions of the rallies in his home country which he enjoys so much.
As mentioned above, Rovanperä has been one of the protagonists of Rally Sweden 2020. He has in fact dominated the Power Stage with great skill and confidence, beating Neuville by 3,7 and Ogier, his rival for the podium, by 3,9.
Tänak (+4.6s) and Lappi (+6.8s) completed the top five on the last special. All in all, a sensational performance by the Finn rookie, who has managed to get a taste of the champagne on his second ever WRC rally.
One place below the Scandinavian in the standings is now his veteran teammate from Gap. Ogier has missed the podium by just 3,4 seconds and all because of the relentless rookie.
Meanwhile, Thierry Neuville who became leader after winning in Monte-Carlo really suffered the consequences of having to open the track and has only managed to finish in sixth place. Furthermore, now has to share the lead with Evans who has drawn up level with him at 42 points.
One step above Neuville and closing the Rally Sweden 2020 top-five was an outstanding Esapekka Lappi. The Finn from M-Sport has delighted the audience with a stunning drive onboard his Ford Fiesta WRC, at an appointment where he never disappoints.
Saturday, Evans remains leader
On Saturday, Elfyn, the definitive ruler of the Scandinavian appointment, demonstrated what he was made off by conquering three consecutive of the four stages that made up the day’s route. Only Neuville prevented the Welshman from taking it all by winning the last one.
On Friday, the first day of the Rally Sweden 2020, Evans came out on top after being the fastest in three of the four partials. It was the start of an ascending journey for the Welsh driver, who managed to sustain his winning pace until the end.
Images of Rally Sweden 2020: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT.