Rally1 feeling natural now for Evans

Elfyn Evans took a year to adjust to the Rally1 generation of car, but he now says it feels natural


After securing a career-high three wins in a World Rally Championship season, and almost doubling his points tally from last year over the same number of rounds, it’s fair to say Elfyn Evans’ 2023 was a huge step forward from his 2022.

In fact, if the WRC gave out a ‘most improved’ award, it would certainly go to the Welshman this year.

Despite finishing as championship runner-up for the third time in four years, Evans is taking some satisfaction from his improved return for his efforts this season.

“Of course when you come to the end and you haven’t won, it’s not going to be good by what you expect,” he told DirtFish. “But the thing is we’ve made clear progress from 2022, things have been a lot more competitive, a lot more consistent, and a lot more reliable also.


“We’ve seen the step forward in results, and also performance I would say, in 2023. So of course hoping we can continue that and keep progressing.

“So yeah, I’m of course happy with it.”

As a driver who is always honest with his own performance, and often brutally so, Evans has made it clear that he has found adapting to his GR Yaris Rally1 a challenge since the latest WRC regulations came into force in 2022.

Team-mate Kalle Rovanperä was immediately more comfortable in the car, and has made full use of that advantage in securing his two WRC titles. But Evans’ hard work and determination in closing the performance gap to the Finn is certainly something to be admired, and it’s a project that is still very much ongoing for the Welshman.

“I think it’s more and more comfortable [in the car],” he said. “I would say it feels natural now. There’s far, far less surprises than what we had at the beginning of this car.

“But naturally, there’s always things we want to improve and get towards our own [driving] style. At the end of the day, the regulations don’t really allow for multiple options for multiple styles.

“While we [the Toyota drivers] work well together, everybody has their own little thing they like, so you have to find a compromise that suits everybody.

“In general I think we manage it quite well, but of course there’s areas that I think we all would like to see improve with the car.”

While the potential for further improvements in the car is a positive sign for Evans, he also knows there’s more potential to come from himself. Reflecting on his year at season’s end, the Welshman is clear on where 2023 was lost, and is on a mission to find those extra few points across a season that might make all the difference in 2024.

“There’s a number of areas of course that we’re always working to improve,” said Evans. “Of course now we have a bit more time to look back through the year. It goes so quickly.

“And once one is behind you, even if it doesn’t go well, of course we chat about it for a day or two but then you have to straight away move on to the next one to start preparing. And the year just disappears so quickly.

“So now we’ll have time to go back through all the bits that we, let’s say, didn’t do so well. We’ve seen again that consistency is so important to win the championship. One non-score just changes everything so, so much.

“Especially if your competitors are scoring strong in rally and powerstage, because that has such an effect also. We know there was an area in the season which was particularly weak for us.


“Obviously Portugal, Sardinia, Kenya were also really not great for us, and it took some time to recover from that.”

So with more to come from both the car and driver, is this year’s runner-up confident of finally achieving world champion status in 2024?

In his classic low-key manner, Evans replied: “I hope so, that’s always the aim anyway.

“Regardless of how realistic or not it is, we all want to win. Always.

“So next year will be no different.”