Evans unable to restart Rally of Portugal

Toyota hasn't been able to ready the championship leader's Yaris for Saturday's stages

Toyota Portugal

Elfyn Evans will not restart Rally of Portugal following his crash on the penultimate stage of Friday.

Evans shares the lead of the World Rally Championship with his Toyota team-mate Sébastien Ogier thanks to his victory on last month’s Croatia Rally, but with Ogier not competing in Portugal that left Evans to sweep the stages clear of loose gravel.

That was undoubtedly a hindrance, but the Welshman was also hamstrung by a car that wasn’t doing quite what he wanted.

He had been lying sixth overall after six stages of the event, but towards the end of SS7 Mortágua Evans left the road at high speed and crashed into the trees.

Both he and co-driver Scott Martin emerged unscathed, but their GR Yaris Rally1 was a sorry sight and initially flames took hold at the front of the car, such was the impact of the accident.

The car was eventually recovered but Toyota has been unable to repair it, leaving Evans to sit out the rest of the rally.

It’s a major blow to his championship challenge, particularly as Kalle Rovanperä is currently just one point behind Evans yet is leading the way in Portugal.

A statement from Toyota read: “Elfyn and Scott underwent medical checks after their accident and are both doing well.

“After inspecting the damage to car #33, the team has taken the decision to retire it from the rally.”

Takamoto Katsuta, who retired on Friday with a broken alternator, will however restart as the first car onto Saturday’s stages.