World Rally Championship points leader Elfyn Evans has urged Toyota not to rethink the design of its Yaris WRC off the back of a weaker performance on Rally Italy’s final stage compared to Hyundai.
Over the course of last month’s event, Hyundai drivers Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak claimed eight stage wins with Toyota pairing Sébastien Ogier and Evans mustering up seven; so the pace between the two cars was even.
However Hyundai appeared to have the edge on the Sassari – Argentiera stage which was run twice on Sunday, the second pass counting as the points-paying powerstage. That powerstage proved costly for Toyota as Ogier lost second place to Neuville, which extended Hyundai’s advantage at the head of the manufacturers’ standings from one point to seven.
Ogier revealed afterwards that “the design” of the Yaris “isn’t fitting really well with those kinds of very extreme conditions”.
And Evans, who was fourth in Italy, also admitted he “struggled” in the softer, rutted surface of the stage that ends on a beachfront.
But he doesn’t believe his Yaris is in need of a major overhaul and pointed to the unique characteristics of the stage as to why.
When Ogier’s comments were put to him by DirtFish, Evans stressed the performance differential between the two teams is “perhaps not how bad we are, it’s how strong Hyundai is”.
“Historically they’ve been so strong on this stage every year,” Evans added.
“It’s quite unique, it’s not like the rest of the stages on the rally so we have to be careful not to overall tune the car for this stage.
“I think it’s easy to get carried away when you lose on one stage like this but overall I’ve been happy with the car and of course we know there’s always areas to improve.”
Evans and his WRC colleagues will be back in Sardinia in just seven months as the event returns to its traditional June slot on the provisional 2021 calendar, and back in Italy in just one month for the title-deciding Monza Rally.