Elfyn Evans headed into the 2020 season with one World Rally Championship win to his name and a best finish of fifth in the drivers’ championship – achieved in both 2017 and 2019 with M-Sport.
In his first season competing in the championship at the wheel of a car other than a Ford Fiesta, Evans took victories at Rally Sweden and Rally Turkey to propel himself into the points lead prior to the season finale at the Monza Rally.
The Toyota ace ultimately lost the title to his team-mate Sébastien Ogier, his hopes ending when he slid off an icy road on Saturday afternoon and retired from the rest of the day’s stages.
Following the incident, Evans insisted that he had “no regrets” over his approach to the rally and highlighted his own personal improvement during the 2020 season.
“It’s been a big jump in performance from where we’ve been in the past,” the Welshman told DirtFish.
“I could argue we’ve been building up to it but of course this is the first realistic title charge that I’ve managed to mount together and of course that gives some confidence looking into the future.
“I think there’s still a lot of areas I can improve [on] and hopefully we can continue to grow and get a bit better.”
Evans will remain in an unchanged driver line-up at Toyota in 2021, with Ogier delaying his retirement to ’22 and young Finn Kalle Rovanperä continuing after an impressive rookie year. It will mark Evans’ fifth consecutive season in the top class following his return to the WRC after his demotion to WRC2 in 2016.
Asked by DirtFish if his 2020 title challenge proves a point to his previous doubters, he said: “I think you’re always under some kind of scrutiny if you know what I mean. But ultimately, we’re here to do the best job that we can.
“We’re all ultimately here because we want to win. Each and every one of us is doing the maximum we can. It’s not really about proving a point, it’s about maximizing everything and doing the best job that we can.”