Elfyn Evans isn’t convinced by DirtFish’s efforts to engage him in a psychological analysis of the need for a result at Rally Finland.
Edging team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä in Jyväskylä could be the start of a great way to say goodbye to the current generation of cars. Is he looking at the possible mental and emotional lift on offer from the top step of the podium?
“Hmmmm,” he said. And it was a long hmmmm.
Eventually, he added: “I don’t know if there’s any psychology. We just want a result.
“It’s been a while since we had a decent one. Ultimately there’s no big plan, we have to focus on doing what we can. The fast rallies haven’t actually favored me since I got in the Yaris. That’s something I would like to think would have gone the other way.
“In Estonia last year and this year, it wasn’t our strongest positions – but then you look at Sweden at the start of 2020 and things were working very well and that event’s not that dissimilar in nature.”
Asked where the speed had gone, Evans said comparisons of a Sweden on a snow-specification Michelin and a dry Estonia on a Pirelli were unrealistic.
We can’t afford to take too long to get accustomed to the speed if we want to fight at the frontElfyn Evans
“There’s a lot changed in terms of the tire – that’s completely different. You can’t just take that Sweden car and have it here on Pirellis here, that wouldn’t work. You have to arrive at a car that works in a similar way, but there’s not a lot similar when you’re on a different surface and with a different car [set-up].
“There are areas of the driving that you can focus on as well. We have to focus on ourselves, there are plenty of areas we can work on following the recent fast rallies.”
The key to this week in Finland hasn’t changed. It’s all about settling into the speed as quickly as possible – something that could be more complicated for Evans than any of his factory rivals. He missed Rally Finland 2019 due to a back injury sustained at Rally Estonia shortly before.
“That doesn’t bother me,” said Evans. “It’s not like I’ve missed events and everybody’s been coming here year-on-year – we all missed it last year.
“The Finns as always tend to settle in a bit faster than everybody else – which is always that shock element regardless of how much testing you do prior to the rally. We can’t afford to take too long to get accustomed to the speed if we want to fight at the front.”
And who will he be fighting at the front? Does he agree team-mate Rovanperä’s among the favorites?
“I’m not discounting anybody,” he said. “Kalle’s going to be quick when you look at his recent form and his win in Estonia, he’ll be fast – but there are others there as well.
“He’s a confident driver, that’s always been the case. But like anybody when you get a string of results it helps with the confidence.”