Losing the last round of the World Rally Championship by six-tenths of a second was one of the more frustrating moments of Elfyn Evans’s career. But it’s gone. Done. Passed. As far as he’s concerned, it’s further fueled his desire to edge his team-mate Sébastien Ogier.
The seven-time world champion is the benchmark. He’s the target everybody’s shooting for and the Welshman is sure he has him in his sights.
“There’s no doubt he’s very good,” Evans told DirtFish, “but there’s also no doubt we can beat him, if that makes sense.”
Stand those words alone and last year’s world championship runner up might sound conceited. He’s not. Anybody who knows Evans – Ogier especially – knows he doesn’t do arrogance.
What it shows is yet more maturity and a demonstration of an inner steel that he wasn’t quite so willing to expose a couple of years ago.
Would you have said that a couple of years ago, Elfyn?
“Maybe not,” he said. “I’ve taken such a long time to get here… maybe I’m a slow learner.”
Regardless of the time taken, the lesson’s been learned: self-confidence and self-belief is everything in this sport.
But before anybody gets carried away, Evans is quick to point out that turning over a 51-time world rally winner isn’t the work of a moment.
We’ve shown on quite a few occasions we now have speed as well as just luck going our way to fightElfyn Evans
“It’s not an easy nut to crack,” he said. “Not only is he very fast, he’s very, very clever as well and I’m not going to make out that it’s going to be an easy job because I know it’s very difficult and very few people have managed it if you look at the record books.
“But we’ve shown on quite a few occasions we now have speed as well as just luck going our way to fight.”
What’s the plan for Portugal?
“We just keep trying.”