Evans strikes back in fight for second

Beating Neuville on long Otates stage may well have secured runner-up spot for Evans

Elfyn Evans

Elfyn Evans responded to Thierry Neuville’s attack and extended his advantage in their battle for second on Rally México by 1.7 seconds.

The longest stage of both the day and the whole rally was a 22.1-mile pass along Otates, which featured a mix of some of the weekend’s previous stages.

It made for a big test on Sunday morning, and with just shy of 14 miles remaining for the drivers to contest afterwards it may well be where the battle for second behind Sébastien Ogier is settled.

Come the end of Otates there was little to separate Evans and Neuville, but gaining a chunk of time over his Hyundai rival could be crucial for Evans with two stages remaining.

But he made sure to point out that it wasn’t so easy behind the wheel of his GR Yaris Rally1, as he now sits in second by 5.8s.

“It’s hard work,” Evans said. “Very slippery and really hard to judge. It looks like we didn’t do so bad.”

Sebastien Ogier

Meanwhile rally leader Ogier continued to work his way calmly to the end, losing nine seconds to Evans but as expected now just taking it easy.

“Very slippery at the end but all good for us,” he said.

“We are trying to control the lead and it was a zero-risk drive.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet’s weekend has not got any easier since his retirement from leg one on Friday morning, this time suffering a puncture and again disrupting his weekend.

“It was in the very narrow part on a compression in a very slow corner,” he explained. “It’s not going in our way, but okay. We will try to finish.”

The same too can be said for M-Sport team-mate Ott Tänak, who complained of an issue which was affecting his performance through the stage and is now just eyeing up the finish line.

“I think we have the front damper empty [of oil], so we just drove it through,” he said.

“Hopefully the finish is coming soon.”