Evans’ Sardinia was far more positive than he thinks

Elfyn Evans is typically hard on himself, but he has plenty to be encouraged by after Sardinia


All World Rally Championship drivers are connected by their will to win, but they don’t all react to success in the same way.

Some will use the moment to push their team on for further improvements, others will ride the emotions of the moment and get back to work on Monday.

But characters like Elfyn Evans will always find a way to critique themselves – a reason why what they just produced wasn’t perfect.

After his victory in Croatia this year for example, his emotions were understandably somber given the tragic events in the lead up to the rally but Evans’ take away from his own performance was it was well managed but “nonetheless, I would have preferred to be a bit faster at times”.

This particular mental approach enables the Welshman to get the best out of himself and his team around him. But naturally it does mean that, when the result isn’t as strong, Evans can sometimes struggle to see the positives.


Like in Sardinia, for example.

Last week’s event became a battle of survival for the #33 Toyota.

Building himself slowly into the event, Evans worked his way up to third by Friday afternoon but slipped back to sixth after a puncture towards the end of the second pass of Monte Lerno’s daunting 30 miles.

Relieving team-mate Takamoto Katsuta of his fifth place first thing in the afternoon, Evans was well positioned to strike if drama befell those ahead of him – but unfortunately the drama would hit Evans and co-driver Scott Martin instead.

Caught out by how deep a water splash was, Evans leaked close to two minutes on Saturday’s third test – but more worryingly, his GR Yaris Rally1 was leaking water too.

Some supreme mechanical work on the road section kept the crew in the rally, but from there Evans slipped into ‘bring it home’ mode and secured the points for fourth place.

“It’s been difficult to get any real momentum, any real fight throughout the weekend,” Evans confessed to DirtFish at the finish.

“Obviously I didn’t have a great day on Friday, puncture in the long one and then obviously the issues on Saturday so it’s been then a case of nothing to gain and all to lose in a way. So yeah it was just a case of getting the car to the end and getting what points we can from it.”

The positives?

“Not a huge amount. Ultimately we’ve still come away with points which is good but obviously it wasn’t the best start to the weekend.

“But like I mentioned, when you find yourself in that position with nothing to really fight for but something to lose, you obviously have to get it to the end.”


That’s quite a downbeat assessment of a rally that was always going to be about rebuilding after the shunt in Portugal.

The mission changed after round five, as Evans went from leading the championship to trailing by 29 points as his team-mate Kalle Rovanperä recorded the perfect score in Matosinhos.

So on the face of it, dropping another six points to the reigning champion wasn’t ideal for Evans in Italy – but given how terminal things seemed after that water splash on Saturday, that has to be considered great damage limitation.

Above all else though, he didn’t fall into the same trap as last season where one mistake led to another and the situation spiralled.

Evans responded to possibly the biggest crash of his career with a typically mature and calculated drive. That’s what he does best. He even admitted so earlier in the year.

It would be daft to pretend Sardinia was Evans’ finest performance in the WRC – ultimately he did make a mistake which hampered his result.

But there were far more positives for him to take than he’s given himself credit for. Consistency will likely be Evans’ best route to a maiden world title, and he’s managed to immediately refind that after his Portuguese blip.